This image of the Martian surface shows large valleys called Northwestern sloped valleys (NSV's) that were created by cataclysmic flooding in the distant past.
Courtesy of NASA
The Largest Valley System in the Solar System
News story originally written on August 8, 2001
Scientists have found the largest known valleys
in the solar system -- on Mars! These valleys lie under a covering of dust, ash, and lava, but they could still be seen by a satellite that uses lasers to look below the surface of the planet.
These giant valleys were formed as large amounts of water flowed through them, just like the Grand Canyon was formed on Earth. In order to form valleys the size of the ones on Mars, the water flow through them would have been 50,000 times that of the Amazon River!
Sometime in the past when Mars was warmer, there was running water on Mars. Now the water is frozen. But, someday Mars may have oceans and lakes on its surface again.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Learn about Earth and space science, and have fun while doing it! The games
section of our online store
includes a climate change card game
and the Traveling Nitrogen game
You might also be interested in:
This page is the start of the tour which explores water on Mars. Use the navigation button at the top of the page to move through the tour. To go to the next page, just press the forward link on the navigation...more
Lakes and a river have been found in the highlands of Mars. They wouldn't be good places for a swim because there isn't any water in them! But the scientists know that there was probably water there a...more
It was another exciting and frustrating year for the space science program. It seemed that every step forward led to one backwards. Either way, NASA led the way to a great century of discovery. Unfortunately,...more
The Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off from Kennedy Space Center on October 29th at 2:19 p.m. EST. The sky was clear and the weather was great. This was the America's 123rd manned space mission. A huge...more
Scientists found a satellite orbiting the asteroid, Eugenia. This is the second one ever! A special telescope allows scientists to look through Earth's atmosphere. The first satellite found was Dactyl....more
The United States wants Russia to put the service module in orbit! The module is part of the International Space Station. It was supposed to be in space over 2 years ago. Russia just sent supplies to the...more
A coronal mass ejection (CME) happened on the Sun last month. The material that was thrown out from this explosion passed the ACE spacecraft. ACE measured some exciting things as the CME material passed...more