In the past 50 years, scientists have obtained an incredible amount of information about the geology of our solar system. Strange and impressive planetary geological discoveries like Mars's Olympus Mons, made by Mariner 9 in 1971, the volcanoes of Venus, observed by the Magellan spacecraft in 1991, and the Beagle Rupes, spotted by the Messenger spacecraft when it flew past Mercury for the first time in 2008, have opened our eyes as to what is actually out there in our solar system.
The four terrestrial planets: Mercury, Venus, the Earth, and Mars, as well as the icy but solid dwarf planets of Ceres and Pluto are host to incredible geological features that put Earth's Grand Canyon and The Great Blue Hole to shame. There are mountains on other planets three times the height of Mount Everest, craters you can see with a telescope from Earth, and many other extraterrestrial structures that will leave you in awe. These geological features are some of the very coolest on our solar system's planets.
Spot 5, A Bright Spot On The Dwarf Planet Ceres
Two distinct bright spots are nestled within the Occator crater on Ceres, which is the largest object in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. These spots shine 40% brighter than the rest of the planet's surface. After laypeople pointed to these areas as proof of an alien civilization, scientists discovered a much less exciting explanation—they are in fact huge salt deposits.
Maat Mons On Venus
This three-dimensional perspective of Maat Mons on Venus was captured from radar data taken from the Magellan spacecraft in 1991. This shield volcano stands five miles tall, and fresh, dark lava extends for hundreds of miles in the foreground, perhaps flowing from a relatively recent eruption, which occurred 10 to 20 million years ago.
Sputnik Planitia On Pluto
The northwestern region of Pluto vaguely looks like a heart and is actually a nitrogen-ice covered basin called Sputnik Planitia. The basin stretches for 620 miles. It was likely created by an impact and is now covered with a massive glacier.
Beagle Rupes On Mercury
The Beagle Rupes is a break in Mercury's surface, where younger rocks were pushed above older rocks. This feature spans 373 miles and is one of the longest and tallest scarps, or ridges, on Mercury.