2008 Volume 117 Issue 2 Pages Cover02_1-Cover02_2
Thanks to recent missions, the volume of data on Mars including those related to landforms has increased dramatically, and the quality of the data is also improving. In response, planetary scientists have adopted GIS as an important tool for geomorphological studies of Mars.
This bird's eye view was constructed using GIS from a data set acquired by Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter onboard the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft launched by NASA. Vertical exaggeration is 8. The Tharsis bulge has rich evidence of magmatic and tectonic processes, and also of water that is hypothesized to have existed on the surface in great abundance. It is also classified as geologically young on Mars. This bird's eye view clearly illustrates volcanoes that are some of the largest in the Solar System, the great Valles Marineris canyon system, and outflow channels probably formed by cataclysmic flooding. Arabia Terra in the foreground is dotted with many impact craters, and is considered to be geologically old.
Courtesy of Trent Hare, US Geological Survey.
(Explanation: Goro KOMATSU)