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Junction of the Nanedi valleys in the Xanthe highlands on Mars

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Junction of the Nanedi valleys in the Xanthe highlands on Mars
Download this image: Hi-Res JPEG (22.14 MB)
The image shows an aerial view of the Xanthe Terra area in the Martian highlands. It was recorded during orbit 905 on 3 October 2004 by the German High Resolution Stereo Camera on board ESA’s Mars Express spacecraft. The camera has been deployed for nearly five years and aims to entirely map Mars in high resolution, in colour and in "3-D".

North is at the top of the image, which has a resolution of 18 metres per pixel. The area covered by this detail image is about 500 kilometres long. The centre of the image is located at about 6 degrees north latitude and 312 degrees east longitude. "Nanedi" is the word for planet in Sesotho, the language spoken in the country of Lesotho in southern Africa.

Nanedi Valles is a valley system that extends for nearly 800 kilometres towards the northeast, through Xanthe Terra, a highland region dotted with numerous craters and located to the southeast of the Chryse plain. The width of the valleys in the colour image varies between 800 metres and 5 kilometres, with depths of up to 500 metres. Two valleys join, approximately at the centre of the image and continue to the north, while becoming narrower. The volume of the water flowing through this valley probably decreased rapidly as a result of evaporation, causing its erosive power to decrease while it flowed to the north.

Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G. Neukum).