Shop Windows to the Universe

Become a nitrogen atom in the nitrogen cycle in our Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit/Game. See all our games, activity kits and classroom activities.
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.

Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!

Our online store includes issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist, full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science, as well as books on science education!

Windows to the Universe Community



You might also be interested in:

Cool It! Game

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

Headlines declare: Mars Pathfinder Lands on July 4th

The Mars Pathfinder was launched in December 1996 on a Delta II rocket. The spacecraft entered the atmosphere on July 4th, 1997, where a heat shield, parachutes, and airbags helped it land. After impact...more

Martian Outflow Channels

The Martian surface shows evidence of the remains of a large number of tear-drop shaped lakes such as the one shown in this image. Most of these are found on the slopes of the Martian volcanoes. They are...more

Mars Odyssey

The Mars Odyssey was launched April 7, 2001, from Florida. After a six-month, 285 million-mile journey, the Odyssey arrived at Mars on October 24, 2001. The Odyssey is in its aerobraking phase right now....more

Mars 2005

The Mars 2005 mission is still in the planning stages. It is set to launch in the year 2005. ...more


The Mars Global Surveyor reached Mars in September of 1997. But it didn't make it into its final mapping orbit until February 1999. What took so long? Surveyor needed to reach a near-circular, low-altitude...more

Mars Global Surveyor Measures Olympus Mons

Mars Global Surveyor carries an instrument which measures the heights of things. This instrument is called an altimeter, or "altitude-meter". The graph to the left shows the results returned from Mars...more

Mars Global Surveyor Measures Martian Global Hemispheres

Mars Global Surveyor carries an instrument which measures the heights of things. This instrument is called an altimeter, or "altitude-meter". The picture to the left shows Mars Global Surveyor's measurement...more

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