Like drippings from a candle, these lava flows on the flank of Olympus Mons volcano demonstrate how it became the largest volcano in the solar system. Multiple flows from an unknowable number of eruptions have piled one on top of another until the mountain of lava reached a height of 27 km above the average Martian elevation. The change in texture seen in the bottom 1/3 of the image marks a break in slope from the flank of the volcano to the north (top) and the flat plain surrounding it. The direction of flows changes from roughly N-S to E-W, suggesting another source for the flows on the plain.
Note: this THEMIS visual image has not been radiometrically nor geometrically calibrated for this preliminary release. An empirical correction has been performed to remove instrumental effects. A linear shift has been applied in the cross-track and down-track direction to approximate spacecraft and planetary motion. Fully calibrated and geometrically projected images will be released through the Planetary Data System in accordance with Project policies at a later time.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory manages the 2001 Mars Odyssey mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. The Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) was developed by Arizona State University, Tempe, in collaboration with Raytheon Santa Barbara Remote Sensing. The THEMIS investigation is led by Dr. Philip Christensen at Arizona State University. Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Denver, is the prime contractor for the Odyssey project, and developed and built the orbiter. Mission operations are conducted jointly from Lockheed Martin and from JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.