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This image shows the landing site for the Mars Pathfinder mission.
Click on image for full size
Image from: NASA/JPL

Ares Vallis

Mars Pathfinder touched down in what appeared to be the remnants of a catastrophic flood. Thus, scientists had the opportunity to study the remains of what is thought to be a surface created by flowing water.

A map of the region, shown here, shows what are called the Ares and Tiu valleys. (Ares is the Greek name of the god of War, also called Mars by the Romans. Read about the god Ares below). These valleys are to be found on the north-eastern edge of Xanthe Terra, which can be seen on the large map of Mars.

The map shows that the two valleys seem to be examples of "straight" channels, rather than meandering river channels. This may mean that during the flood, the water came gushing directly out of the ground. The image also shows many tear-dropped shaped tails around craters in the area, indicating a lot of water flow in the past.

On the web page linked in at the bottom of this page one may create one's own map of the region and see the channels relative to where Pathfinder landed. Connecting to this web-site is recommended. Once linked, a map is shown which shows the Mars Pathfinder landing site. Click on the landing site location and create your own map. Then use the (-) button to zoom out and view the landing site from a greater distance.


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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA