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This picture shows where Isidis Planitia is on Mars. The Mars globe on the left shows how Mars would look to your eyes if you were close to Mars. The globe on the right shows how high (or low) places on Mars are. Places that are high look red or orange on the right globe. Places that are low look green or blue on the right globe. You can see that Isidis Planitia is low because it is blue.
Click on image for full size
NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems and the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) Team at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Isidis Planitia

Isidis Planitia is the name of a place on Mars. Isidis Planitia is a very flat plain. It is inside the bottom of a very old crater. Isidis Planitia is big. It is about 1,500 km (930 miles) across. That is quite a bit bigger than the state of Texas!

A comet or a big asteroid that crashed into Mars probably made the crater that Isidis Planitia is in. Scientists think that happened a very long time ago. They thin the comet or asteroid hit Mars three or four billion years ago.

Some scientists think Mars had lakes or oceans on it a long time ago. It doesn't any more. Mars is very dry. If Mars did have lakes or oceans in the past, Isidis Planitia might have been filled with water a long time ago.

A spacecraft called Mars Express got to Mars in December 2003. Mars Express had a part that landed on Mars. That part is called Beagle 2. Beagle 2 landed in the eastern part of Isidis Planitia. Beagle 2 is supposed to look for life on Mars. Scientists think that places that once had water are good places to look for life.

Last modified December 26, 2003 by Randy Russell.

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