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Mars in 3-D: So detailed it's scary

New images from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter show the Red Planet's surface in extraordinary detail—and in three dimensions to boot. The photos, known as anaglyphs, come from the orbiter's High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment, or HiRISE, billed as the most powerful camera ever placed in another planet's orbit.

NASA and the University of Arizona, one of the science partners in HiRISE, picked a great destination for such advanced equipment: the peaks and craters of Mars stand out in mind-bogglingly stark relief. (The University of Arizona says that the camera resolves features as small as 3.3 feet, or one meter.) You might find yourself, as this reporter did, leaving smudges on your computer screen as you try to touch the raised rim of a crater. A word of caution, though: don't try to view all 362 images in one sitting—scrolling through the massive high-rez landscapes can make one a bit carsick after a while. But for the privilege of a virtual tour of the Martian surface from the comfort of your home or office, a little nausea seems a small price to pay.

If you find yourself fresh out of 3-D glasses, which are necessary for viewing the anaglyphs, don't fret: NASA has instructions on where to get them or how to make your own.

Photo credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

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