We’ve always been led to believe that Mars is red. That’s why it’s nicknamed The Red Planet. But as you can see from these stunning new images recently released by NASA, the surface of Mars is actually a lot more colorful than we think.
The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) was launched into space in 2005, and since that time, it’s rotated around the red planet, snapping photos of all that it sees. This spacecraft transmits images back to Earth every month, but the most recent batch—1,035 pictures total—is especially meaningful: the geometry of our planet and Mars had lined up just right, and on May 22, Mars and the Sun were on opposite sides of our sky. This allowed for clear communications, at least for a few weeks, between Mars and Earth.
The MRO’s images are exciting for NASA—they give us a better perspective of Mars’ surface and could help map potential landing sites for the future. Check out some of our favorites, below, and see the entire compelling collection in the HiRise image catalog.
Anaglyph of the Basal Scarp of Olympus Mons Volcano
Candidate Impact Site
Central Deposits in Pasteur Crater
Crater Floor in Arabia Terra Region
Crater in Hesperia Planum
Dark Sand and Bright Bedrock in Terra Meridiani
Dune Field with Bright Fans
Dunes Dubbed Tleilax
Edge of North Polar Erg Dubbed Windy City
Evidence of Multiple Episodes of Gully Formation
Exposure of Polar Layered Deposits with Unconformities
Gullies in Dunes Dubbed Kolhar
Landforms at West End of Her Desher Vallis
Monitor Slopes of Crater in Melas Chasma
North Polar Layered Deposits in Head Scarp of Chasma Boreale
Possible Phyllosilicates in Ejecta of Small Crater in Tyrrhena Terra
Scalloped Depressions with Layers in the Northern Plains
Sediment on South Side of Rock
Sharp Scarp and Varied Features
Southern spring sunshine is causing the seasonal carbon dioxide cap at the south pole to evaporate.
Steep Slopes of Hebes Chasma
Very Fresh Small Impact Crater
White Rock Landform in Pollack Crater
Winter View of Dunes
Check Out The Full Gallery [ HiRise ]