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Subject Scientists baffled by 'bootprint' as Mars Express returns new Orcus Patera images
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Original Message "Bootprint" is 385km long
Crossed by 2.5km wide valleys
May have been grazed by meteor
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NEW images of an ancient crater on Mars have failed to solve an age-old mystery for planetary scientists.

If anything, the hi-res images of the "Footprint Crater" - otherwise known as Orcus Patera - have puzzled Mars-watchers even further as to how the Red Planet was originally scarred with the 385km long depression.

The picture was taken by the European Space Agency's Mars Express orbiter and released by the ESA late last week.

It sits between two volcanoes and while the name "patera" is traditionally given to irregularly shaped volcanic craters, scientists know at least enough about the Orcus Patera to know it wasn't formed by a volcano.

The most likely explanation is that it's an impact crater, although given the length of the scar, it would have to have been formed by something striking the surface of Mars at an angle of less than five degrees, possibly bouncing back off the surface.

Read more: [link to www.news.com.au]
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