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The Martian One!

Mars, the ‘Red Planet’, is home to the largest volcano in our solar system.

Olympus Mons

Olympus Mons towers over the Martian plains and is one of several volcanoes and volcanic features that can be mapped out on the surface of the planet.

Tanno and Iguda landed the Widget on the top of Olympus Mons to peak over its vast craters and find out about this and other volcanoes that are found in space.

Olympus Mons. Image Credit NASA

Flying over Mars

The European Space Agency and NASA have been mapping out the surface of Mars in great detail. You can take a fly through and see a virtual Mars in 3D in the movie below… can you spot Olympus Mons?

Olympus Mons is really a super big volcano. It rises up from the Martian plains around it, and you can see craters at its top which are as as large as the Big Island on Hawaii…..

Image Credit: NASA, USGS.

Other Space volcanoes

The moon Io also known as Jupiter I, is the innermost and third-largest of the four Galilean moons around Jupiter… and it has erupting volcanoes on it!

The surface of Io is dotted with volcanoes, and we have even imaged eruptions from images taken by NASA’s Galileo and New Horizons spacecraft.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL

Cryovolcanoes

There are even volcanoes called cryovolcanoes (ice volcano) which erupt volatile chemicals such as water, ammonia or methane, instead of hot molten rock. These have been seen on Saturn’s moon Enceladus, as well as some other icy moons such as Europa, Titan, Ganymede and Miranda.

Icevolcano 1444 icevolcano 1443

Illustration of the interior of Saturn’s moon Enceladus showing a global liquid water ocean between its rocky core and icy crust. Thickness of layers shown here is not to scale. Image Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Space Volcanoes

It turns out there are both ancient and current volcanoes in our solar system on a number of planets and moons.

Hawaii is home to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory which monitors the active volcanoes in Hawaii. The observatory assesses their hazards, issues warnings and updates when eruptions are happening, and carries out scientific work to understand how volcanoes work.

YOUR MISSION, SHOULD YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT …

YOUR MISSION, SHOULD YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT …

YOUR MISSION, SHOULD YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT …

YOUR MISSION, SHOULD YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT …

How big is BIG?!

It is difficult to get a feel for just how big Olympus Mons is compared to the volcanoes on Earth. You can get a relative feel for these differences, by making some scaled examples.

Image Credit: NASA, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Your Task

You will need:

  • large sheet, and some smaller cloths/napkins
  • a pole/stick and some smaller sticks.

You may want to do this outside, but you should also be able to manage indoors. You may need some help. First you are going to work out the relative difference in height between Olympus Mons and some other mountains on Earth.

Your large pole/stick represents the height of Olympus Mons, so you will need to know how many cm there are to a km in your relative scale. So divide the size of Olympus Mons in km by the length of your pole/stick.

Hint/example: Olympus Mons rises 26 km above its surrounding plains. So if your stick is 52 cm tall, then your scale is 2 cm of stick height for every kilometre of volcano height.

Now pick one of your volcanoes from the series on Earth and note down its height in kilometres, and also find out the height of Mt Everest. You will now need to make smaller sticks at the relative scale of these mountains by converting their height in km’s into your relative cm scale from your Olympus Mons stick.

Now put the Olympus Mons pole under the sheet so it makes a mountain like peak (it will be like making a pointy tent). You now need to put the other sticks under sheets or other cloth to make them look like pointed mountain shapes as well. Get some help to put them next to each other and take a photo. That’s the relative difference in height for Olympus Mons to your choice of Earth’s volcanoes and our highest mountain on Earth.

– MISSION END –

– MISSION END –

– MISSION END –

– MISSION END –

Your Journey So Far …

Tanno and Iguda have explored these places up to now. You can go back and visit again by clicking below.

Stromboli

Vesuvius

Erta Ale

Iceland

Villarica

Mt Erebus

Mt St Helens

Sarychev

Mt Fuji

Pinatubo

Hawaii

Olympus Mons

Great to see you here, thank you for the visit! See you next time …

Tanno & Iguda