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Valles Marineris canyons looking east as seen from Mars orbit with the sun over the horizon; terrestrial planet; telluric planet; rocky planet - Space Art Illustration

Valles Marineris looking east

This is how the Valles Marineris canyons may appear shortly after sunrise from an altitude of 35 miles. The view is from a position over the center of the trough system looking east. In the right foreground is the Ius Chasma, and above it toward the Sun is the Melas Chasma, and on the left nearer to the horizon is the West Candor Chasma. The horizon itself spans about 300 miles.


What's in a name?

Valles Marineris  (Latin for Mariner Valley) was named by the NASA Mariner 9 spacecraft team whose unmanned probe returned the first close-up views of the Martian surface in 1971. The valley's name was Latinized in keeping with a tradition started a century earlier by Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli.

Chasma is Latin for chasm and refers to a steep-walled trough or a large canyon. Melas Chasma is  "dark chasm;" Ius Chasma is "Chasm of Justice?"

This rendering is based upon elevation data from NASA's Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter.

Copyright Walter B. Myers. All rights reserved.

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