A NASA spacecraft has captured unprecedented images of the largest volcano in the Solar System

A NASA spacecraft has captured unprecedented images of the largest volcano in the Solar System
A NASA spacecraft has captured unprecedented images of the largest volcano in the Solar System

This is the Olympus Mons on Mars.

NASA has pulled off an impressive feat by capturing an unprecedented panoramic view of the largest volcano known to humanity. Using its 23-year-old Mars Odyssey spacecraft, the space agency photographed Olympus Mons from a unique perspective, similar to what astronauts might have from a space station orbiting Earth.

The image shows a detailed, wide view of Olympus Mons at the bottom with its caldera, a large collapsed pit at the top of the volcano. Unlike mountains with steep peaks, Olympus is a gradually sloping “shield volcano,” similar to Hawaiian volcanoes. It was formed through progressive lava flows that overlapped previous ones.

Spanning 600 kilometers (370 miles) – roughly the size of the state of Arizona – and 27 kilometers (17 miles) high, Olympus Mons is more than twice as high as the altitude at which commercial airliners fly.

 
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