This map shows a portion of the surface of Mars.
Click on image for full size
Image from: NASA

Martian Global Geography

The surface of Mars can be broken into two parts, the highlands and lowlands. The highlands are in the southern hemisphere (the bottom of the picture). The lowlands are in the northern hemisphere of Mars (top of the picture). The highlands are called that because as a whole, they are much higher than the lowlands.

The highlands are the oldest part of Mars. They have tons of craters. The lowlands are younger. They contain the Tharsis Ridge, where many of the largest volcanoes of Mars are located.

The Mars Global Surveyor mission is taking a lot of measurements about the surface of Mars.

Last modified April 27, 2001 by Jennifer Bergman.

Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!

Our online store includes books on science education, classroom activities in The Earth Scientist, mineral and fossil specimens, and educational games!

Windows to the Universe Community



You might also be interested in:

Ready, Set, SCIENCE!: Putting Research to Work in K-8 Science Classrooms

What types of instructional experiences help K-8 students learn science with understanding? What do science educators teachers, teacher leaders, science specialists, professional development staff, curriculum designers, school administrators need to know to create and support such experiences?...more

Martian Cratered Terrain

This is an example of the cratered surface of Mars. Almost all of the surface of Mars is covered with craters. Craters can be wiped out over time, so a surface which has many craters is very old. The lowlands...more

The Tharsis Ridge

This image, taken from the Mars Global Surveyor mission (MGS), shows the Tharsis Ridge, the green/blue area in the middle of the picture, as well as a portion of the southern hemisphere of Mars. The green...more

An Overview of the Mars Global Surveyor Mission

The mission of Mars Global Surveyor (MGS for short) is to map the surface of Mars from space. MGS is also looking at the atmosphere of Mars and the weather of Mars. MGS and the Mars Pathfinder (MPF for...more

Surface Features of the Earth

Look at this picture of the surface of the Earth! Can you find these features? the Pacific Ocean floor continents volcanoes mountain ranges volcanic islands faults (Click on the image to see labeled examples...more

Questions about Mars to be addressed by the Mars Surveyor Program

After decades of exploration of Mars, many questions still remain. What happened to the water on Mars? Has all the water escaped is it hidden in the ground and polar caps? What is the present and past...more

Does Mars have a surface in Motion?

Unlike Earth, there is no continental drift on Mars today. The Martian surface does not seem to have changed or moved in billions of years. 1.) The surface of Mars shows craters at all latitudes and longitudes....more

Planet Structure

The uniquely red global surface of Mars is marked by many interesting features - some like those on the Earth and others strangely different. The reddish color is caused by rust (iron oxide) in the soil....more

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