International Journal of Mars Research | ISSN 2453-8760 | Current Issue: 7 Volume 4

Surface

SKThe surface of Mars is with its appearance very similar to surface of Earth. It is covered by large plains, deserts, mountains and by system of canyons.

The composition of rocks on the surface of planet is from geologic point of view quite diverse. One from many other elements prevails and it causes also typical color of planet. This element is iron (Fe) and on the planet it is concentrated in form of various iron oxides.

Picture below displays map of concentration of iron rocks (data from Mars Odyssey):

Source and image credits: JPL. Image in full resolution can be found here at this link

Topography of Mars created with data from Mars Global Surveyor (source and image credit NASA):

Full resolution of this image can be found here at this link.

Are there any similarities to surface of Earth? Yes, of course, for example calcium sulfate veins and many others. Look on comparison below, isn’t it nice?

This set of images shows the similarity of sulfate-rich veins seen on Mars by NASA’s Curiosity rover to sulfate-rich veins seen on Earth. The view on the left is a mosaic of two shots from the remote micro-imager on Curiosity’s Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument on Dec. 14, 2012, or the 126th sol, or Martian day, of operations. They show a view of “Sheepbed” rock in the “Yellowknife Bay” area of Mars. The sulfate-rich veins are the light-colored veins about 1 to 5 millimeters (0.04 to 0.2 inches) wide. The image on the right is from the Egyptian desert on Earth. A pocket knife is shown for scale (image courtesy of Pierre Thomas). On Earth, calcium sulfates like gypsum form frequently in veins when relatively dilute fluid circulates at low to moderate temperatures. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL/CNES/IRAP/LPGNantes/CNRS/LGLyon/Planet-Terre

Useful study resources:

If you are interested in landscapes of Mars, we strongly recommend you this book or this book about Geology of Mars: The Geology of Mars: Evidence from Earth-Based Analogs (Cambridge Planetary Science)