In the 1930s Pan Am Clippers opened an entire region of the world to air travel for the first time. People could finally see exotic places without having been part of a major expedition. Elon Musk and SpaceX seem to be trying to evoke that same sense of wonder and discovery with this series of Martian travel posters. Featuring Valles Marineris, Phoebos & Deimos and Olympus Mons, these posters are issued by the fictitious “Mars Colonization and Tourism Association”. I’m sure it won’t be long before one can reserve their seat on a SpaceX rocket. Sign me up!
Valles Marineris, or Mariner Valley, is a vast canyon system that runs along the Martian equator just east of the Tharsis region. Valles Marineris is 4000 km (2500 mi) long and reaches depths of up to 7 km (4 mi)! For comparison, the Grand Canyon in Arizona is about 800 km (500 mi) long and 1.6 km (1 mi) deep. In fact, the extent of Valles Marineris is as long as the United States and it spans about 20 percent (1/5) of the entire distance around Mars! The canyon extends from the Noctis Labyrinthus region in the west to the chaotic terrain in the east. Most researchers agree that Valles Marineris is a large tectonic “crack” in the Martian crust, forming as the planet cooled, affected by the rising crust in the Tharsis region to the west, and subsequently widened by erosional forces. However, near the eastern flanks of the rift there appear to be some channels that may have been formed by water. (source: NASA)
Mars has two small moons: Phobos and Deimos. Phobos (fear) and Deimos (panic) were named after the horses that pulled the chariot of the Greek war god Ares, the counterpart to the Roman war god Mars. Both Phobos and Deimos were discovered in 1877 by American astronomer Asaph Hall. The moons appear to have surface materials similar to many asteroids in the outer asteroid belt, which leads most scientists to believe that Phobos and Deimos are captured asteroids. (source: NASA)
The largest of the volcanoes in the Tharsis Montes region of Mars, as well as all known volcanoes in the solar system, is Olympus Mons. Olympus Mons is a shield volcano 624 km (374 mi) in diameter (approximately the same size as the state of Arizona), 25 km (16 mi) high, and is rimmed by a 6 km (4 mi) high scarp. A caldera 80 km (50 mi) wide is located at the summit of Olympus Mons. To compare, the largest volcano on Earth is Mauna Loa. Mauna Loa is a shield volcano 10 km (6.3 mi) high and 120 km (75 mi) across. The volume of Olympus Mons is about 100 times larger than that of Mauna Loa. In fact, the entire chain of Hawaiian islands (from Kauai to Hawaii) would fit inside Olympus Mons! (source: NASA)