KEES VEENENBOS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY KEES VEENENBOS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Water on Mars. Computer artwork looking south over water surrounding the Olympus Rupes cliffs beneath a misty sky on Mars 3.5 billion years ago. Mars is now a desert world, but erosion features seen on Mars today suggest that water once flowed there. The water was lost due to the thin Martian atmosphere and weak gravity. Olympus Rupes are the western cliffs (10 kilometres high) of the Olympus Mons shield volcano. Shield volcanoes are flat and spread out over the land. Olympus Mons is 600 kilometres wide and rises 14 kilometres above the cliffs. The topography of this artwork was drawn with Terragen software, using data from the laser altimeter on the Mars Global Surveyor probe.
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