Speaking of Olympus Mons

It’s curious how difficult it is to find the location of the actual summit of the volcano.

Various sources will tell you how high it is, some will tell you it’s near the south edge of the summit caldera, but you need to dig a bit to find that it’s a little west of Pangboche crater (whose north rim appears to rival it), just an unremarkable spot in the middle of a plain. If you know where to look, Google Mars kinda gets you close (yellow pins on right):

A little underwhelming

No dramatic summit ridge? No awe-inspiring pinnacle? Not even a small rise to set the spot off a little bit? I expected more from the largest (planetary) mountain in the solar system.

This is where artistic license comes into play.

Doesn’t Look All That Intimidating

Came across this while doing some story research: Olympus Mons, complete with escarpment and aureole

Nothing to it, really…



It’s one picture of hundreds of its kind, cited as evidence of how impassible the escarpment around Olympus Mons is to surface-traveling explorers.


Look at the left side in this picture (west-northwest on Olympus Mons). No escarpment. No impassible five-mile-high cliffs. Just a long slope. Kinda like the ones on the south side of the volcano.

I bet you could drive a rover up those slopes…