Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
Credit: Mars Global Surveyor Project, MSSS, JPL, NASA
Explanation: Olympus Mons on Mars is the largest volcano in the Solar System. Although three times higher than Earth's Mount Everest, Olympus Mons would not be difficult to climb because of the volcano's great breadth. Covering an area greater than the entire Hawaiian volcano chain, the slopes of Olympus Mons typically rise only a few degrees at a time. The low gravity of Mars combined with a relatively static surface crust allow volcanoes this large to build up over time. This representative-colour image was taken last April by the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft currently orbiting Mars.
Authors & editors:
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC
&: Michigan Tech. U.