This interactive lets you search for features in a Martian floodplain. Look at each thumbnail, then find it and click on it in the larger image.

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Launch Interactive

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About the images

Two images are used in this activity. One is a "visible" image: it's essentially what you would see if you were there. It was taken by a camera onboard the Mars Global Surveyor orbiter (MGS). The second is colored based on its elevation: blue is lower, green or yellow is higher.

The elevation image was created using data from the Mars Orbiting Laser Altimeter (MOLA) onboard MGS. MOLA bounces a laser off the surface of the planet, then times how long it takes for the beam to return to the spacecraft. From that it can calculate its distance from the surface to an accuracy of a little over a foot. MOLA does this over and over as it orbits, eventually building up enough data for a global elevation map of the entire planet.

If you're looking for features that vary in elevation (like flood channels), this kind of map can make them much easier to see.

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You can play with this same interactive for other parts of this site as well:

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MOLA at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Mars Global Surveyor at JPL

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