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Ready, Set, SCIENCE!, by the National Research Council, focuses on K-8 science classsrooms. Check out the other publications in our online store, as well as classroom materials.
This graph illustrates one way in which the altimeter instrument studies the planet.
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Image from: NASA/JPL

Mars Global Surveyor Measures Olympus Mons

Mars Global Surveyor carries an instrument which measures the altitudes of things. The instrument is called an altimeter, or "altitude-meter".

The graph to the left shows the results returned from Mars Global Surveyor's measurement of the size of the giant Martian volcano Olympus Mons. The altitudes measured by the altimeter are shown in kilometers and in miles. Shown for comparison is the altitude of the highest terrestrial peak, Mt. Everest. It can be seen from the graph that Olympus Mons is much larger than Mt. Everest. Olympus Mons is the size of the entire chain of Hawaiian Islands. This is especially amazing since Mars as a whole is about 1/3 the size of the Earth!


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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF