Categories: esaMarsMissions

Mars’ Misty Mountains

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Looking like Mars’ version of Land of the Lost, these two mist-capped volcanoes are located in the Tharsis region in Mars’ northern hemisphere. In this latest set of images released by the Mars Express team, a desolate looking landscape is softened by icy clouds drifting past the summit of Ceraunius Tholus, with the smaller Uranius Tholus to the right. No dinosaurs or Sleestaks are visible, but it looks like Uncle Jack could show up any minute!

The image was created from three different passes over the region by the spacecraft, and – surprisingly – during the middle orbit the clouds showed up. By the time Mars Express crossed again and took the final strip of data needed for this image, the clouds had long since dispersed and so there is a sharp line across them in the finished mosaic.

See below for a 3-D, perspective view of these two volcanoes.

Mars' volcanoes Ceraunius Tholus and Uranius Tholus in 3-D. Credits: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G. Neukum). Click for larger version.

Tharsis region — often called the Tharsis Bulge — is a continent-size volcanic plateau in Mars’ western hemisphere. The region is home to the largest volcanoes in the solar system, including the three enormous shield volcanoes Arsia Mons, Pavonis Mons, and Ascraeus Mons. The tallest volcano on the planet, Olympus Mons, is way off to the western side of the Tharsis plateau.

See the Mars Express website for more information and more images of Ceraunius Tholus and Uranius Tholus.

The images were taken during 2004-2006.

Nancy Atkinson

Nancy has been with Universe Today since 2004, and has published over 6,000 articles on space exploration, astronomy, science and technology. She is the author of two books: "Eight Years to the Moon: the History of the Apollo Missions," (2019) which shares the stories of 60 engineers and scientists who worked behind the scenes to make landing on the Moon possible; and "Incredible Stories from Space: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Missions Changing Our View of the Cosmos" (2016) tells the stories of those who work on NASA's robotic missions to explore the Solar System and beyond. Follow Nancy on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Nancy_A and and Instagram at and https://www.instagram.com/nancyatkinson_ut/

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