NASA Releases Over 1000 New Images of Mars' Exotic Surface

Tuesday, 09 August 2016 - 11:31AM
Space
Mars
Space Imagery
Tuesday, 09 August 2016 - 11:31AM
NASA Releases Over 1000 New Images of Mars' Exotic Surface
NASA has just experienced a huge data dump from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and the cornucopia of images reveals that the surface of the Red Planet is active and exotic (and not always red). 

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has been exploring Mars' orbit and snapping pictures of the Red Planet since 2005, and sends back a data dump each month. But this inundation of images comes from a rare opportunity for unfettered communication between Mars and Earth, since the two planets are in opposition. For a few weeks, Mars and Earth will be in direct opposition to each other in the sky without any obstructions between them, allowing for quicker and more efficient communication across the lightyears.

Many of the photos show off Mars' cratered and dune-covered surface, such as this image of large alcove dunes:

Mars Surface

But some of the most amazing photos are of Mars' gullies, distinctive Martian topographical features that have an alcove at the top, a long channel in the surface, and then deposited material at the bottom. They look very much like terrestrial gullies that were created by flowing water, which excited scientists greatly, although evidence is mounting that they're actually the result of seasonal freezing of carbon dioxide.

Gullies in dunes dubbed Kohlar, after the planet in Frank Herbert's Dune:


Mars Surface

Gullies in Buzzel Dunes:

Mars Surface

Here are some more highlights among the new photos, showing off Mars' craters, red surface, steep slopes, and beautiful plains. You can see the entire collection on the HiRise website:

Atlantis Chaos:

Mars Surface

Sediment on the south side of a rock:

Mars Surface

Acidalia Region slope:

Mars Surface

Flaugergues Crater:

Mars Surface

Deposits in Noctis Labyrinthus:

Mars Surface

Valley with flows in Noachis Terra:

Mars Surface

Steep slopes:

Mars Surface

Small ridges in Rabe Crater:

Mars Surface

Fractures in Utopia Planitia:

Mars Surface

Small tributary deposit and transverse Aeolian ridges in Nirgal Vallis:

Mars Surface
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NASA
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Mars
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