Encounters of ancient microbial fossils in meteorites and similar species of liquid water on the surface of Mars are currently controversial issues. But a topic well established by space observations of the Red Planet is the presence of volcanoes.
Mars has some of the highest volcanoes in the Solar System. This synthetic color photograph taken in March 2002 by the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft shows two of them: Ceraunius Tholus (left) and Uranius Tholus.
Ceraunius Tholus is only the size of the Big Island of Hawaii on Planet Earth.
Shocking craters cover the Martian terrain and indicate that these volcanoes are ancient and that they are inactive. The north is to the right and the scene is illuminated by sunlight coming from above on the left. A clear region of dust deposited by recent global storms is located in the lower left of the Ceraunius Tholus region, whose summit measures about 25 kilometers from side to side.
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