Mars Valles Marineris
Grand Canyon of Mars

Mars Grand Canyon
Mars Grand Canyon
Item# K0334
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Product Description

The largest canyon in the Solar System cuts a wide swath across the face of Mars. Named Valles Marineris, the grand valley extends over 3,000 kilometers long, spans as much as 600 kilometers across, and delves as much as 8 kilometers deep. By comparison, the Earth's Grand Canyon in Arizona, USA is 800 kilometers long, 30 kilometers across, and 1.8 kilometers deep. The origin of the Valles Marineris remains unknown, although a leading hypothesis holds that it started as a crack billions of years ago as the planet cooled. Several geologic processes have been identified in the canyon. The above mosaic was created from over 100 images of Mars taken by Viking Orbiters in the 1970s.

Credit: Viking Project, USGS, NASA

Text: 2011 March 27 APOD

Because the source file for this image is 278 Megabytes, we can offer this image in a Mega Size 36" x 48" (image size 30"x40") wall-sized hires photographic quality print. Stunning.



Mosaic of the Valles Marineris hemisphere of Mars projected into point perspective, a view similar to that which one would see from a spacecraft. The viewer's distance is 2,500 kilometers from the surface of the planet. The mosaic is composed of 102 Viking Orbiter images of Mars. The center of the scene (lat -7, lon 78) shows the entire Valles Marineris canyon system, over 3,000 kilometers long and up to 8 kilometers deep, extending from Noctis Labyrinthus, the arcuate system of graben to the west, to the chaotic terrain to the east. Many huge ancient river channels begin from the chaotic terrain and north-central canyons and run north. Many of the channels flowed into a basin called Acidalia Planitia, which is the dark area in the extreme north of this picture. The three Tharsis volcanoes (dark red spots), each about 25 kilometers high, are visible to the west. South of Valles Marineris is very ancient terrain covered by many impact craters.



The Mariner Valley, also known as the Valles Marineris canyon system, appears in this mosaic of images from NASA's Viking spacecraft as a huge gouge across the red planet. This "Grand Canyon" of Mars is about 2500 miles long and up to 4 miles deep. By comparison, the Earth's Grand Canyon is less than 500 miles long and 1 mile deep.

Image Processing by Jody Swann/Tammy Becker/Alfred McEwen, using the PICS (Planetary Image Cartography System) image processing system developed at the U.S. Geological Survey in Flagstaff, Arizona.