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Thursday, June 18, 1998 Published at 09:31 GMT 10:31 UK


Mars in 3D

A stereo view of Mars

Clever use of technology is providing some of the best pictures ever seen of the red planet. Scientists have managed to produce 3D images of the surface. Unlike normal, flat images the new pictures show the height of objects. Our science correspondent David Whitehouse reports.

To see the image in stereo you will need red/blue glasses or pieces of red and blue clear plastic. Your right eye should look through the red piece.

[ image: The view from Pathfinder]
The view from Pathfinder
The stereo view of the mile-wide Big Crater was created by combining two images taken on separate orbits from the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft.

The imaginatively named crater is an important landmark on Mars as it lies in the vicinity of the landing site of the Mars Pathfinder craft, which touched down last July.

So far scientists have not pinpointed the location of Pathfinder on the surface and images such as these will help them do so.

Then they will be able to match what Pathfinder sees on the ground with Mars Global Surveyor's view from orbit.

This will then provide a contour map of the vast dried-up outwash basin on which Pathfinder landed.

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