Mars, February 5, 2008,
The solar system's tallest mountainthe Martian volcano Olympus Mons, which stands about three times as tall as Mount Everestis seen here in unprecedented 3-D detail.
The image is part of newly released data from the Mars Express orbiter's High Resolution Stereo Camera. Known as a digital terrain model, the information provides the first comprehensive topographical look at much of the red planet's surface.
The data will allow scientists to simulate "standing" on Martian cliffs, hillsides, lava flows, and desert plainsa vital tool for figuring out Mars's complex geography and chemistry.
"This data is essential for understanding how water or lava flowed across Mars," said Gerhard Neukum, a professor at Freie Universitdt in Berlin, Germany, in a press statement.
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Image by ESA/DLR/FU Berlin/G. Neukum