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Last Updated: Monday, 12 February 2007, 16:10 GMT
Red Planet 'hiking maps' produced
The topographic maps show an interesting region of Mars: Iani Chaos

Scientists using data from a European space probe orbiting Mars have produced new topographic maps of the Red Planet.

The "hiker's maps" provide detailed height contours and names of geological features on the Martian surface.

The European Space Agency (Esa), which compiled the maps, said it hoped the maps would become a standard reference for future research on the Red Planet.

The data, from the Mars Express spacecraft, has also been turned into 3-D models of the surface of Mars.

The topographic maps use contour lines to show the heights of the landscape.

The contour lines are superimposed upon high-resolution images of Mars, taken by the High-Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) aboard Mars Express.

The maps are much like those of Earth used by hikers and planning authorities.

The samples released by Esa show the Iani Chaos region of Mars because of its major topographical interest.

It is covered in individual blocks and hills that form a chaotic pattern across the landscape.

Mars Express entered orbit around the Red Planet in December 2003.

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