Images taken by landers on Titan and Venus and Mars show landscapes where rocks, to me at least, are surprisingly flat. Being used to walking around in forests with roundish meter sized boulders, I'd be very surprised to find myself in a landscape of flat rocks.

Their atmospheric density range between about 100 times, half and 1/100th of Earth's atmosphere. So that can't be the main explanation. Actually, I think that the landscape of the Moon is more Earth like than that of the atmospheric worlds out there.

Is this my impression of "flatness" a real phenomenon, and if so, why and how?

  • $\begingroup$ Maybe you would like to rephrase 'atmospheric planets' that does not sound right. $\endgroup$ – harogaston Jul 4 '14 at 7:55
  • $\begingroup$ @haragaston, I mean "worlds" with atmosphere which are not gas giants. If they are planets, dwarf planets, moons is irrelevant. Unfortunately there is no good word for that category. $\endgroup$ – LocalFluff Jul 4 '14 at 8:18
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    $\begingroup$ Newly cleaved rocks on Earth usually have flat planar surfaces as well. Round rocks are usually shaped that way as a result of erosion, usually by water here on Earth. $\endgroup$ – Marc Jul 4 '14 at 19:46
  • $\begingroup$ Could you clarify and provide examples of what is it exactly that you mean by 'flat rocks'? It is not clear since it is not a very technical term. $\endgroup$ – harogaston Jul 5 '14 at 5:53

I would say that your initial observation is flawed, so the question is moot.

Huygens landing site, Titan: enter image description here


I don't know what you're talking about. The only one that seems to have mostly flat rocks is Venus. At least based on what little photographs we have from the surface of Venus.


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