From NASA's Planetary Photojournal
Olympus Mons is taller than three Mount Everests and about as wide as the entire Hawaiian Island chain. But this giant volcano is nearly as flat as a pancake with its flanks typically having only a slope of 2 to 5 degrees.
The Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) obtained this spectacular wide-angle view of Olympus Mons on Mars Global Surveyor's 263rd orbit, around 10:40 p.m. PDT on April 25, 1998. In the view presented here, north is to the left and east is up from about 900 km (560 miles) up. Although the camera looks straight down (towards the nadir) and cannot be pointed to the side, the wide angle camera has such a large field of view (it sees from horizon to horizon) that, in effect, it provides side looking views.
The image was taken on a cool, crisp winter morning. The west side of the volcano (lower portion of view, above) was clear and details on the surface appear very sharp. The skies above the plains to the east of Olympus Mons (upper portion of view) were cloudy. Clouds were lapping against the lower east flanks of this 26 kilometers (16 miles) high volcano, but the summit skies were clear.
Image Title: Olympus Mons, 1998 (color)
Catalog #: PIA01476
Target Name: Mars
Spacecraft: Mars Global Surveyor Orbiter
Photo Credit: NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems
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Last Modified On: Monday, December 18, 2000