Computer-Generated View of Olympus Mons
Thousands of point elevation measurements from the laser altimeter onboard the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft were processed to create this computer-generated view of the largest volcano yet known in our solar system, Olympus Mons. This volcano stands more than 90,000 feet above its base, and yet its flank slopes are only about six degrees, similar to that of its cousin volcano Mauna Loa in Hawaii.
Olympus Mons was discovered in 1971 by the Mariner 9 orbiter, the first spacecraft to orbit another planet, when a global dust storm abated, revealing the peaks of this amazing edifice as the first land to be seen on Mars. Olympus Mons is so big that its flanks have collapsed under their own weight, producing impressive cliffs that rise 10,000 feet or more, all around the gigantic mountain.
Credit: NASA/MOLA Science Team/ O. de Goursac, Adrian Lark.