Anyone who has ever visited the American Grand Canyon knows how big it is. The Grand Canyon is indeed worthy of its name, but there is nothing in the canyon on the surface of Mars. NASA has released a new image of the largest canyon in the solar system, which is nearly ten times the length and three times the depth of the Grand Canyon.
The canyon is called Valles Marineris, and it is a deep and wide canyon system that extends more than 2500 miles along the Martian equator. The huge canyon system covers nearly 25% of the entire circumference of Mars. In contrast, compared with the Grand Canyon, Valles Marineris is almost ten times the length and three times the depth.
New images were taken on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter using the HiRISE camera. One of the greatest mysteries about Mars is how such a huge canyon system was formed. On earth, the Grand Canyon is formed by billions of years of flowing water.
NASA says that Mars is so hot and dry that there has never been a river as large as two sections through its crust and formed a huge canyon system. ESA said there is evidence that flowing water may have deepened existing river channels in certain canyons hundreds of millions of years ago.
Scientists believe that billions of years ago, when a nearby super-large volcano in the area called Tharsis first protruded from Martian soil, most of the canyon might have broken. Lava emerged from under huge volcanoes, including Mount Olympus, and could stretch and tear the crust, which eventually collapsed into the valleys and valleys that now make up Valerie Marinas. There is evidence that the canyon system was further carved by debris flows, magma flows and ancient rivers after its formation.