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Monday, 13 February 2017

6 Of the best images of Mars

Above: Frost on the Martian desert. While the most recent missions hint at rare flows of briny Martian water, we've known since the Viking landers that ice is common enough on the red planet - here Viking 2 captured the early morning frost settling on the soil.

Above: At 27000 meters high  Olympus Mons is the biggest volcano,  and the biggest mountain,  in the solar system.  It's so big that the peak sticks out of the atmosphere and into space -  and, if you were to stand on it's slopes, you wouldn't be able to tell where the real horizon was and what was merely the curve of the mountain.

Above: The two teeny Martian moons whizz across the sky, one in the same direction as the Sun and one against it.  They are so small they're hard to tell from asteroids,  but they give Mars a phenomena we never see on Earth: Moon on moon eclipses

Above: Mars wears the Valles Marineris is a canyon system like a pirate's scar. It's so big it could would swallow Earth's grand canyon like a tic tac: 7Km deep and running for 4000  km the canyon is part giant rift valley,  and part carved by ancient running water,  deep in the Martian past

Above: The Sun sets on Mars. The sunsets on Mars are blue,  thanks to the way the dust in the ochre sky scatters light.  It's beautiful, but beware -  in the Martian night temperatures can easily reach a hundred degrees below freezing.

Above: A massive Martian dust devil, as seen from space. Dust devils on Mars can be hundreds of meters wide and thousands of meters tall. Some even travel in clusters,  wandering the landscape like nomads. Of all Martian weather they are probably the most spectacular and, even though the thin martian wind doesn't carry much force, being caught in one would mean being pelted with flying sand

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