Photo: a computer-generated view of Olympus Mons | Dreksler Astral
Mars, our closest planetary neighbor, is cool for a ton of reasons—it’s named after the Roman god of war, it’s been the host of four rover missions (with a fifth on the way), and it’s been the subject of countless works of science fiction. But did you know that it’s also home to the largest volcano in our solar system? That’s right—Mars has a volcano, and it’s really, really big.
Olympus Mons | NASA
Olympus Mons is a shield volcano located in Mars’ western hemisphere. It is the largest volcano in the solar system at 72,000 ft tall (two and a half times the height of Mount Everest) and 374 miles wide (nearly the size of the state of Arizona). Mars’ atmosphere is so thin that the volcano’s peak actually pokes out above it, meaning that if one were to hike to the summit of Olympus Mons, they would hike into space.
Shield volcanoes like Olympus Mons are formed as lava slowly flows out of the ground and spreads out, creating a low, squat appearance. Shield volcanoes have an average slope of only 5%, which makes Olympus Mons’ height ...