Schiaparelli Crater

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Mars topography (MOLA dataset) HiRes (1).jpg

Schiaparelli is an impact crater, located near the planet's equator at latitude 3° south and longitude 344° in the Sinus Sabaeus quadrangle. Since it is fairly large and sits on the equator it is a good feature to find as it tells you about where the equator is located. Just to its East is a large dark spot, Syrtis Major, which is also easy to find. Schiaparelli measures approximately 460 kilometers in diameter and was named after Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli, known for his observations of the Red Planet and his mistranslated term "canali". The name was adopted by IAU's Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature in 1973.[1]

Some places within Schiaparelli show many layers that may have formed by the wind, volcanoes, or deposition under water. Some are quite beautiful as shown in the pictures above and below. People often seek to travel to our national parks like the Grand Canyon to see layers like the ones in Schiaparelli.

Layers in crater found within the Schiaparelli Crater basin as seen by Mars Global Surveyor.

The Martian

Schiaparelli Crater was featured in the 2011 novel "The Martian" by Andy Weir, and in the popular movie of the same name in 2015. In the story, Schiaparelli Crater is the landing site for Ares 4, the fourth manned mission to Mars. Mark Watney, an astronaut from Ares 3 who is stranded on Mars, must travel from Acidalia Planitia to Schiaparelli, a journey of 3200km.[2]


  1. "Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature – Schiaparelli". Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature – International Astronomical Union
  2. Weir|first=Andy|title=The Martian (Andy Weir)|The Martian|year=2014|location=New York City|New York|publisher=Crown Publishers|isbn=978-0-8041-3902-1

See Also