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Last Updated: Wednesday April 12 2006 19:53 GMT

'Happy face' on Mars is revealed

Surface with a smile: Crater Galle

Images sent back by European probe Mars Express show a crater on the Red Planet that looks a little bit like a "happy face", say scientists.

The image shows a 'smiling' row of rocky mountains sitting within a crater known as the Galle Crater.

Two ditches can also be seen on the image of Galle which could be a sign of liquid water running on Mars' surface.

A Nasa orbiter has also sent back its first colour image after arriving at Mars on 11 March.

Nasa's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has taken its first colour image of the Red Planet

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) had already beamed black and white images from its high-resolution cameras, but the new photos show a colour image of the eastern region of the Red Planet.

The colour is not the same as the natural colour we would see with our eyes, but has been specially adapted by infrared lighting in the cameras.

It has also been treated so we can make out the different tones in the colour.

Experts hope that soon the MRO will send back the clearest-ever pictures of Mars as it searches for signs of life over the next two years.