KEES VEENENBOS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY KEES VEENENBOS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Water on Mars. Computer artwork looking west over the flooded Orcus Patera (oval) at sunset on Mars 3.5 billion years ago. Mars is now a desert world, but erosion features seen on Mars today suggest that water once flowed there. The water was lost due to the thin Martian atmosphere and weak gravity. The long axis of the patera is around 400 kilometres long. It is thought that this feature is an outflow of lava. It is unlikely to be formed as an impact crater, as these are round, no matter what the angle of impact. The topography of this artwork was drawn with Terragen software, using data from the laser altimeter on the Mars Global Surveyor probe.
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