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Stunning new images of Valles Marineris, the largest canyon in the Solar System

At 10 times the length of the Grand Canyon of the Colorado and five times deeper, Valles Marineris, on Mars, is the largest canyon in the entire solar system. How it was formed is still being investigated by scientists at the University of Arizona (USA), who, thanks to a high resolution camera, have managed to obtain close-ups of this mysterious depression.

The images, released by NASA, have been taken by the HiRISE camera, installed on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has been photographing the surface of Mars since 2006.

As reported Live Science, the canyon of Valles Marineris it was not eroded by the passage of water like the Grand Canyon of the Colorado, since Mars is too hot and dry to have welcomed a river of that size that crossed the surface in that way.

According to the European Space Agency (ESA), this large fracture in the Earth’s crust could be due to intricate patterns of faults and landslides, as well as the volcanic activity of the area, which caused “the surrounding crust to stretch, tear and finally collapse into the gigantic canals of Valles Marineris.”

Close-up of the Valles Marineris canyon on Mars.
Close-up of the Valles Marineris canyon on Mars.
NASA / JPL / University of Arizona

Likewise, “the strong water flows may have reshaped Valles Marineris after its formation, deepening the canyon,” says ESA.

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