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Sci-Tech

NASA orbiter snaps the 'Niagara Falls of Mars'

You won't want to book your honeymoon there, but there's a place on Mars where the landscape reminds scientists of the epic formations of Niagara Falls.

It's no place for a honeymoon, but these lava-fall views are still gorgeous.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

Ah, Niagara Falls, a grandiose natural phenomenon of rushing water. You won't find anything quite like it on the dry surface of Mars, but the Red Planet has a landmark that bears a resemblance to the famous falls. 

NASA posted an image today from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) and titled it "The Niagara Falls of Mars." There's no bubbling river here, but there are the remnants of what was once a great lava flow.

NASA says the image "shows one of the many examples from Mars where lava (when it was molten) behaved in a similar fashion to liquid water." 

What you're looking at is the north rim of a crater nearly 19 miles (30 kilometers) in diameter. Nasa notes, "a lava flow coming from the north-northeast surrounded the crater rim, and rose to such levels that it breached the crater rim at four locations to produce spectacular multi-level lava falls." 

As epic as all this looks now, it would have been totally mind-blowing in the long-distant past while the lava was actually flowing and creating these spectacular formations. For another view, check out this 3D image that makes it feel like you're visting in person.

NASA's MRO launched in 2005 and has sent back quite a few fascinating views of Mars, including recent looks at the Curiosity rover and a mysterious deep pit.