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Mosaic of Valles Marineris from the Viking Orbiter 1, reproduced at a scale of 80 meters/pixel.
Click on image for full size
Image from: Malin Space Science Systems

Steep slopes of Valles Marineris

High resolution images returned by the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft allow closer examination of this unusual canyon. As shown here, slopes seem to descend steeply to the north and south in broad, debris-filled gullies with intervening rocky spurs, reminiscent of terrestrial canyons.

Scientists question whether sedimentary processes, such as the ones which formed the Earth's Grand Canyon also formed these canyons. formed these canyons. In any case, these images indicate that there may have been a complex and extremely active early history for geologic processes on Mars.

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Valles Marineris

Valles Marineris is a large system of canyons, shown in this image, that stretches 4000 km (2500 mi) along the equator of Mars. It was first imaged in detail by Mariner 9. The scene to the left (centered...more

Martian Volcanoes

On this map of Mars, the lightly cratered Tharsis Ridge is shown, as well as the heavily cratered Martian highlands (near the bottom of the picture), and Valles Marineris to the right. The volcanoes are...more

The Transfer of Water in Martian History

The unusual global geography of Mars helps to explain the fact that water has been drawn from the southern hemisphere to the northern hemisphere of the planet through all of Martian history (that is, from...more

The Martian Cryosphere

The Martian geography is one of high altitudes at high southern latitudes and low altitudes at low latitudes. The ground is less frozen at low latitudes because it is warmer and water can evaporate. Thus,...more

Martian Floods

Separate from the Martian outflow channels, or the river valley networks, are large Martian lakes (600 km, or ~1000 miles across) which exhibit evidence of a periodic and catastrophic release of water...more

Martian Fog

This is an image of fog in a Martian canyon. The presence of fog provides evidence of water, and a water cycle on Mars. More fog has been seen in images returned by Mars Global Surveyor of the south polar...more

Martian Orbital Eccentricity

The Martian climate is more influenced by the shape of the Martian orbit than the climate of the Earth is influenced by the shape of the Earth's orbit. The orbit of Mars is more elliptical than that of...more

Martian Storm

This is an image of a storm moving across the Martian terrain. The camera is looking down upon the storm and the storm front forms a spiral pattern, the same way terrestrial storms are presented on the...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