The image captures the crater’s central uplift – raised from depth during the impact event that carved out the crater itself – and a variety of impact-related rocks, or ‘breccia’, which is essentially broken up fragments of the planet’s rocky surface cemented together by finer-grained material.
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter already identified features and minerals in this crater that suggest water was once present here. Ritchey Crater is located at 309.06°E/28.13°S, just south of Valles Marineris, where TGO also just reported evidence that vast amounts of water – in the form of ice or hydrated minerals – is still present today.
TGO arrived at Mars in 2016 and began its full science mission in 2018. The spacecraft is not only returning spectacular images, but also providing the best ever inventory of the planet’s atmospheric gases, and mapping the planet’s surface for water-rich locations. It will also provide data relay services for the second ExoMars mission comprising the Rosalind Franklin rover and Kazachok platform, when it arrives on Mars in 2023.