Monday, September 7, 2009


A high-resolution camera aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captures the abstract beauty of the Martian landscape....


The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera, known as HiRISE, has yielded numerous never-before
seen images of the Red Planet, like this shot of an area west of the Nili Fossae trough that is one of the proposed
landing sites for the Mars Science Laboratory.
The blue streaky areas are sand desposits created by wind activity.


A fresh two-kilometer diameter crater lies on the floor of Pasteur Crater. The colors in many of these photographs have
been enhanced by the HiRISE's software.


The windblown sand that extends from the craters at the upper left of this image indicates winds blowing in two
different directions. The boulders on the craters' rims are approximately 1.5 meters wide.

Impact Crater

The dark blue in this image probably indicates sand, which lies over giant blocks — measuring from 10 to over 300 feet
that were thrown up when a meteor or comet collided with the planet surface.

Chaotic Terrain

This region, called Iani Chaos, contributed to the formation of Ares Vallis, a Martian valley that appears
to have been carved by fluids, perhaps water.


The steep interior walls of the crater Arabia Terra are lined with slope streaks, caused, perhaps,
by dust avalanches that have stripped away the planet surface to reveal a darker underlying layer.

Defrosting Sand Dunes

Mars' north polar region is surrounded by a large sea of dark sand dunes that are covered seasonally by carbon dioxide frost.


n the giant impact crater known as Hellas basin, small boulders cast long shadows. The bright blue patches are
false color representations of frost.

Fractured Hills

Mounds appear to rise from the bottom of impact craters. They could have been produced by ground ice
upheaval or erosion of the planet's mantling layer.

Crater Wall

Layers of rock are exposed along the wall of a crater located in a region known as Chryse Planitia.


The darker areas towards the top of this image of the region Valle Marineris are wallrock.
Many of the troughs nearby contain mounds composed of light-toned layered deposits

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