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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 February, 2004, 18:51 GMT
Mars probe looks at glacial scene
The channel was probably carved by glacial activity

Europe's Mars Express orbiter has taken a detailed image of what scientists think is a glacial channel on the surface of the Red Planet.

The picture was taken using the orbiter's high resolution camera at an altitude of 272 kilometres above Mars.

The image captured by the craft shows the channel may have been carved by glaciers or gigantic water outflows from lakes beneath the ice.

Bright streaks on the surface of the channel were caused by wind erosion.

The feature is known as Kasei Vallis. The picture covers a distance about 130 km across.

Previous observations of the planet have uncovered extensive evidence that Mars underwent a series of Ice Ages in the past.

The high resolution stereo camera (HRSC) aboard Mars Express is capable of producing perspective views of an image from different angles.

It does this by combining different "channels" on the camera.




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