Admire New Photos of the “Grand Canyon of Mars”
We still don’t know so much about Mars, but thanks to recently released photos, we got a much better view of the Grand Canyon, the equivalent of the Red Planet. Although this is not entirely true: the one on Mars, called the Valles Marineris, is almost 10 times longer and three times deeper than ours on Earth. And while scientists still don’t know how the canyon formed, these new images from ongoing research at the University of Arizona (UA) in Tucson provide some more clues. Here’s how to look at other people’s (sorry) photos.
What makes this canyon so special?
In fact, these are two things: large-scale and mysterious. According to Space.com :
This system of deep, vast canyons, known as the Valles Marineris, stretches over 2,500 miles (4,000 km) along the Martian equator, encompassing nearly a quarter of the planet’s circumference. This crack in the rock of Mars is almost 10 times longer than Earth’s Grand Canyon and three times deeper, making it the largest canyon in the solar system and … one of the most mysterious.
Given how hot and dry Mars is, scientists don’t think the Marineris Valley was formed by running water like the Grand Canyon. Although researchers from the European Space Agency (ESA) have said there is evidence that flowing water may have deepened some of the canyon’s existing canals – even though that would have been hundreds of millions of years ago.
How to see new images of a canyon on Mars
These are the latest photos taken with an incredibly high resolution camera called HiRISE (short for High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. To check these or any other photographs of the canyon (or taken from the Martian Reconnaissance Orbiter), visit the HiRISE website of the University of Arizona at Tucson .