The surface of Mars
Monday, 24 February 2014 01:10

The all surface of Mars is covered with craters, volcanoes, valleys and canyons. At the South pole is much higher than in the North. The most famous of them is described below.

The Mariner Valley (lat. Valles Marineris) – it is a system of canyons on Mars, which stretches from Night Labyrinth (lat. Noctis Labyrinthus) to the South-East about 4 thousand kilometers. Its width is 200 km and depth 11 km was found by the Mariner-9 in the early 70-ies and named in honor of the program "Mariner". It is the largest canyon is discovered in the Solar system. How this huge canyon was created is not known, it could be the result of volcanic activity of the planet, or as a result of collision with some object from space.

The Tharsis Area (lat. Tharsis, is not shown on the map) extends from the Mariner valley on the North-West to the Amazon plateau (lat. Amazonis Planitia). In the Tharsis Area is situate the groups of highest volcanoes. Mount Olympus (lat. Olympus Mons) is the highest extinct volcano on Mars and in the Solar system. Its height is 21.2 kilometres from the base, the diameter at the base, approximately 550 km, it slopes strongly sloping, and the top is almost in open space. In a few hundred kilometers South-West from mount Olympus is a number from 3 other volcanoes that surpass in size any of the earth's volcanoes. One of them mountain Arsia (lat. Arsia Mons) – the second highest extinct volcano 19km., the diameter of its base 435 km. On the slopes of Arcia's possible there are caves they were found in the study of images obtained from orbiters.

The plateau of the Sun (lat. Solis Planum) – the plain in the southern hemisphere, South of Valles Marineris, where is situeted the Lake of the Sun (lat. Solis Lacus).

Plain Hellas (lat. Hellas Planitia) – plain depression, which lies below the surrounding area on 9km. Most likely, formed as a result of the fall of a huge asteroid at the beginning of the existence of the Solar system. Currently (XXI century) this plain is the deepest place on the red planet. The pressure of the atmosphere it can reach 12 millibars, which allows to reason about the possible existence of water in liquid state (above 6.1 mbar).

Polar caps on Mars are composed of dry ice (carbon dioxide) and water ice. In winter time the surface is covered on both sides of the planet can reach 50-s latitudes. With the onset of spring, the ice is retreating and there is darkening around the caps. The thickness of the polar caps can reach several kilometers. At the North pole machine Phoenix recorded a water snow, which on the sun turned into a gas.

It is now known that water ice is not only in the polar caps. It is found in different amounts and at different depths in the soil of the planet. The space station has recorded a possible exit of water on the planet's surface. However, this phenomenon still needs to be explored.