NASA has released an image from one of its Mars rovers which shows a part of the red planet where ancient lava behaved once like liquid water. The government agency has dubbed it the "Niagara Falls of Mars."
Thanks to the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), NASA has a 3D image of the northern rim of a 30-kilometer crater on the western part of the Tharsis volcanic province. The image shows that the lava surrounded the crater rim, ultimately breaching the crater rim at four locations to produce lava falls, one in the northwest and the rest in the north.
"In a close-up image the rough-textured lava flow to the north has breached the crater wall at a narrow point, where it then cascades downwards, fanning out and draping the steeper slopes of the wall in the process," NASA said in a statement on its website.
The MRO launched in 2005 and has sent back several images of Mars, including the most recent Niagara Falls picture.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory manages the MRO Project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington.