Realistic perspective views of the Martian surface can be generated from data acquired by the stereo and colour channels of the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on board ESA's Mars Express spacecraft, which are oriented at an angle with respect to the planet’s surface.
Visible in this image is a vast plain in the eastern part of Syrtis Major, a large volcanic region north of the Martian equator. Low-viscosity lava flowed from here across the Martian highlands millions of years ago. In the background, an approximately 1000-metre-high mountain rises above the plain; at its base, a valley-like depression forms the border between the solidified lava flows and the mountain. This could be a former lava channel through which the low-viscosity lava, at a temperature of more than 1000 degrees Celsius, flowed away from its source. But it is also possible that flowing water eroded a valley into the solidified volcanic rock.
As a joint undertaking by DLR, ESA and FU Berlin, the Mars Express HRSC images are published under a Creative Commons licence since December 2014: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO. This licence will also apply to all HRSC images released to date.