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Young Voices for the Planet DVD in our online store includes 8 films where students speak out and take action on climate change.

Exploratour - Comparing the Surfaces of Earth and Mars


The table below presents a comparison of continents on Earth and Mars.


An image of the Earth's crust showing the continents as well as undersea topography.
Click on image for full size (630K GIF)
Map courtesy of the National Geographic Data Center/ U.S.G.S.

There are seven land masses on Earth called continents. Continents are landmasses that are raised above the rest of a planet's crust. Continents are made of material that is less dense than the rest of the terrestrial crust. This makes them lie about 4.6 km higher than the ocean floor, on average. The Earth's continents (from largest to smallest) are Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica, Europe, and Australia.


Two views of the surface of Mars. The upper image shows the Highlands, while the lower image shows the Tharsis Ridge.
Click on image for full size version (160K GIF)
Image from Mars Global Surveyor, NASA/JPL
There are the two regions on Mars which seem elevated above the rest of the crust. The first is a large elevated region in the lower half of the planet known as the Highlands. The other feature is known as the Tharsis Ridge or Bulge. It is the size of a small continent on Earth, or perhaps a large, volcanic island. These two features may be thought of as the continents of Mars.

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, ranging from seismology, rocks and minerals, oceanography, and Earth system science to astronomy!

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Cool It! Game

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

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

Even though the sleeping man is no longer on the bed, you can still see where he was lying down. The heat from his body warmed up the bed sheets which are now radiating infrared light toward your eyes....more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

All warm objects (not just people) radiate in the infrared. Warmer objects give off more infrared radiation. Very hot objects radiate other types of light in addition to infrared. Click on the picture...more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

Your eye is a wonderful detector of visible light. Different frequencies of light produce different sensations in the eye which we interpret as colors. Our eyes detect light by using light sensitive components...more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

Imagine you found a pair of special glasses that not only gave you telescopic vision but gave you the ability to see all forms of radiant energy. The universe in visible light contains all the familiar...more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

This is a volcano on the island of Miyake in Japan. It has erupted, sending hot lava and ash into the air, a total of ten times. The time after one eruption until the next occurred was about twenty years...more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

This is a picture of a galaxy in visible light. A galaxy is a large number of stars, some like our sun, some bigger, some smaller and all moving together through space. This galaxy is called Centaurus...more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

This is a plant in Gary, Indiana where power is made. We use power to run things like television sets, radios, lights, and microwave ovens. The picture looks very strange because it was taken in infrared....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