Mount Everest, which sports a height of approximately 29,000 feet, is the tallest mountain on Earth. But if you were to venture to Mars, you’d find several mountains that make Mount Everest look small. Olympus Mons, for example, measures nearly 69,000 feet tall.
You might be wondering how Mars developed such tall mountains, but there’s a very simple answer.
Mars was volcanically active during its early days, but the planet doesn’t have active tectonic plates as the Earth does. That said, these volcanoes spewed molten material repeatedly, and the material merely stacked higher over time.
Mars’ smaller gravitational influence also played a role. With less restrictive force preventing upward material buildup, mountains could reach greater heights than they could here on Earth.
Mars isn’t as volcanically active today as it once was, but NASA’s InSight mission is on its way to the red planet as of this writing to learn more about its internal processes. If we’re lucky, the mission could validate this idea.