Back to: Projects

The Mars Globe

This page contains a VR model which you will only be able to see and rotate if you have a java-enabled browser.

The Mars Global Surveyor and MOLA Mission has provided highly accurate topographic maps of the martian surface. On the right a new topographic globe has been constructed using this data. You can click on the buttons on the globe to see images of selected areas: Olympus Mons, Kasei Vallis, Coprates Chasma in Valles Marineris, Isidis Planitia (the Beagle 2 landing site) and part of the ancient highlands which contains geologically recent gullies.

The major features of Mars can be seen clearly as can its great range in elevation. The northern lowlands are low-lying basins and plains with a gentle regional slope down to the north pole. The ancient highlands (with a higher density of impact craters) comprise the southern part of Mars. The split between these two parts of Mars is called the crustal dichotomy. The third major regional feature on Mars is an enormous bulge on Mars called Tharsis. This volcanic province contains Olympus Mons (at 21 km elevation the largest volcano in the Solar System) and the three other shield volcanoes: Arsia, Pavonis and Ascraeus Mons. Tharsis has experienced great volcanic activity over most of the history of Mars and it is this that has led to the doming of its land surface.

(215K download) Click and drag the image to rotate the exhibit

play stop
MOLA Elevation (metres)

MOLA elevation (metres)

You can see more images of the martian surface at martian geology

Mars and Martian Meteorites / John Bridges / February 2002