At an estimated 5 miles (8km) deep and over 1,800 miles (3,000km) long, the massive canyon Valles Marineris on Mars dwarfs the Grand Canyon. The rift extends in an east-west direction just south of the Martian equator and would stretch from Los Angeles to New York if it were on the Earth.
Valles Marineris was named after Mariner 9, the 1971-1972 mission that discovered it.
Photo: A view of the central part of Valles Marineris created from Viking mission images (NASA/JPL/USGS)
On Earth, this Martian canyon would stretch from LA to New York.
A massive canyon on Mars dwarfs the Grand Canyon.
Professor Brian Cox describes how the Grand Canyon on Earth measures up to Valles Marineris on Mars.
The probe sees Mars's moons, volcanoes.
Viewing parts of Mars missed by previous probes, Mariner 9 revealed three huge volcanoes and a massive canyon, now estimated to be 5 miles (8km) deep and over 1,800 miles (3,000km) long. The probe also took photographs of Mars's moons, Phobos and Deimos.
Valles Marineris (Latin for Mariner Valleys, named after the Mariner 9 Mars orbiter of 1971–72 which discovered it) is a system of canyons that runs along the Martian surface east of the Tharsis region. At more than 4,000 km (2,500 mi) long, 200 km (120 mi) wide and up to 7 km (23,000 ft) deep, the Valles Marineris rift system is one of the larger canyons of the Solar System, surpassed only by the rift valleys of Earth and (in length only) by Baltis Vallis on Venus.
Valles Marineris is located along the equator of Mars, on the east side of the Tharsis Bulge, and stretches for nearly a quarter of the planet’s circumference. The Valles Marineris system starts in the west with Noctis Labyrinthus; proceeding to the east are Tithonium and Ius chasmata, then Melas, Candor and Ophir chasmata, then Coprates Chasma, then Ganges, Capri and Eos chasmata; finally it empties into an outflow channel region containing chaotic terrain that ends in the basin of Chryse Planitia. It has been recently suggested that Valles Marineris is a large tectonic "crack" in the Martian crust. Most researchers agree that this formed as the crust thickened in the Tharsis region to the west, and was subsequently widened by erosion. However, near the eastern flanks of the rift there appear to be some channels that may have been formed by water or carbon dioxide.