What Is This?

What is this?

When I saw this image appearing in my RSS, I couldn't tell what it was. It looked like a close-up of the skin of some animal. Perhaps a detail of a bird or a reptile, I thought. Maybe a colorized microscopic view into some human body part. The answer couldn't possibly be more different than what I expected.

You are looking at Mars! A photograph taken by the HiRISE camera aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter at the beginning of 2014. It's a "giant landform on Mars," according to the space agency. One with "steep faces or slip faces several hundreds of meters tall" what was "formed over thousands of Mars years, probably longer".

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