KEES VEENENBOS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY KEES VEENENBOS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Martian canyons. Computer model looking down on the central part of the Valles Marineris (Mariner Valley) on Mars. North is at top. The colours show elevation from white (highest) through brown, red, orange, yellow, green and blue (lowest). Mars is a desert world today, but erosion features show that water once flowed, probably about 3.5 billion years ago. The water was lost because of the thin Martian atmosphere and weak gravity. The map shows that water would have formed vast seas here. This image is 1700 kilometres wide. The topography was drawn with Terragen software, using data from the laser altimeter on the Mars Global Surveyor probe.
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