This picture was made by combining pictures taken by the Viking Orbiter I in 1980. The small ice cap is Mars' north pole. The large crack-like feature near the bottom running almost all the way across the picture of Mars is Valles Marineris. To the left (which is west) of Valles Marineris are three spots: these are known as the Tharsis volcanoes. Each of them is about 27 kilometers high, over 350 kilometers in diameter, and each has a volcanic crater at their peak. The light colored crack running from the middle of Valles Marineris to the north are called the Chryse outflow channels. Scientists believe water once flowed on Mars' surface and carved out these channels, just like rivers do here on Earth.
The StarChild site is a service of the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC), Dr. Alan Smale (Director), within the Astrophysics Science Division (ASD) at NASA/GSFC.
The StarChild Team
StarChild Graphics & Music: Acknowledgments
StarChild Project Leader: Dr. Laura A. Whitlock
Responsible NASA Official: Phil Newman