While our planet Earth is riddled with fascinating natural features, there are those outside our world that fascinate people as well. While humans have yet to directly come in contact with these wonders, science has made it possible for humanity to send robotic probes to explore them, gather information, and transmit information back to Earth for scientists to analyze. This is done so that we’ll have a better idea about their existence. Here I countdown the 8 most fascinating places outside of Earth that are contained within our fascinating solar system.
1.)Rings of Saturn, Saturn
Besides our own moon, there’s probably not a more recognizable image in our solar system than the planet of Saturn. The extensive rings of this gas giant give Saturn a unique look that outweighs the imagery of some of the other well known planets. Saturn’s rings are mostly made up of of frozen water. One theory states that Saturn’s rings may be formed from a moon that broke to pieces and it’s remains stayed in the planet’s orbit until it formed the unique rings. Some believe that the ring system is perhaps younger and they cite the fact that they’re mostly made up of H2O.
2.)Olympus Mons, Mars
Olympus Mons on the red planet of Mars has the distinction of being the largest mountain in the entire solar system. It’s a volcano and the highest point reaches 16.8 miles into the sky, which makes it 2.6 times larger than Mount Everest on Earth. Geologists believe that the volcano’s most recent eruption occurred around 40 million years ago.
3.)The Volcanoes of Io
Jupiter’s moon Io is known to be the 4th largest moon in the entire solar system. One of Io’s features that make it more distinguishable than other moons is Io’s high level of volcanic activity. This is due to Io’s forced orbital eccentricity. The moon’s surface is riddle with volcanos and it’s said that lava flows that are hundreds of kilometers can occur.
4.)Valles Marineris, Mars
Besides having the largest mountain in the solar system, the red planet of Mars is also known to have the largest canyon. Valles Marineris is sometimes called the Grand Canyon of Mars. It’s thought that water or CO2 may have once flowed through the canyon.
5.)Subsurface Ocean, Europa
Jupiter’s moon of Europa probably has one of the most interesting surfaces out of any moon or planet in the solar system. The moon itself it made up of silicate rock with an iron core and the surface itself has many cracks. The planet’s surface is frozen and scientists believe there’s a subsurface ocean composed of water beneath the surface. This gives hope that perhaps there may be some kind of life living in the oceans of Europa. While there has yet to be a probe to explore Europa’s oceans, the hope that someday there will be remains.
6.)Great Red Spot, Jupiter
The Great Red Dot on the surface of Jupiter is perhaps this gas giant’s most recognizable feature and the dot itself has appeared for at least the last 180 years. The Great Red Dot is a storm is currently about 3 times the size of Earth.
7.)Polar Ice Caps, Mars
Like Earth, the poles of Mars are the coldest areas on the planet. The poles of Mars are formed from frozen water and CO2 and lay in darkness during the winter. When sunlight melts the poles water vapor rises into the air and storms are formed in the martian atmosphere.
8.)Methane Lakes, Titan
Saturn’s moon of Titan has lakes on it’s surface composed of both liquid methane and ethane. It was suspected during the 1970s that Titan had the atmosphere to support such features. It was only confirmed later during the Cassini-Huygens space probe. Scientists have stated that they believe the lakes possibly contain more natural gas than any resource on Earth.