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Stunning Mars Photos Show Evidence of Past Water

New images from U.S. and European spacecraft support growing evidence that Mars once was a water-rich planet capable of supporting life.

The new views reveal details of regions thought to contain water-bearing minerals and geological formations formed billions of years ago.

Stunning images captured by the High-Resolution Stereo Camera aboard the European Space Agency's Mars Express show the cliffs, valleys and plateaus of Echus Chasma, thought to have been one of the largest water-source regions on Mars.

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Echus Chasma resembles a dry riverbed 60 miles long and 6 miles wide. It cuts through the Lunae Planum high plateau north of Valles Marineris, the so-called Grand Canyon of Mars.

The images — released Tuesday but taken on Sept. 25, 2005 — show side-branching valleys roughly 6 miles long and half a mile deep.

• Click here to read more on this story in The Australian.