Mars (29 photos)

A photo album covering the breathtaking images of NASA's exploration of the planet Mars.

 
High, wispy clouds cover a large portion of Mars, seen in this, the first true-colour image of Mars generated with the OSIRIS orange (red), green and blue color filters. The image was acquired by an instrument on the ESA's Rosetta probe on Feb. 24, 2007 from a distance of about 240,000 km. Image resolution is about 5 km/pixel. (Credits: ESA © 2007 MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/RSSD/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA)Mars' northern orange sky and horizon, seen by NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander. The lander's solar panel and Robotic Arm with a sample in the scoop are also visible. The image was taken by the lander's Surface Stereo Imager looking west during Phoenix's Sol 16 (June 10, 2008), or the 16th Martian day after landing. The image was taken just before the sample was delivered to the Optical Microscope. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona/Texas A&M University)The brownish gray sky at sunset as it would be seen by an observer on Mars - true color mosaic taken by Mars Pathfinder on sol 24 (June 22, 1996) The sky near the sun is a pale blue color. (NASA/JPL)High ice cloud over Mars' limb. This composite of red and blue Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) images acquired on 6 July 2005 shows an isolated water ice cloud extending more than 30 kilometers (more than 18 miles) above the Martian surface. Clouds such as this are common in late spring over the terrain located southwest of the Arsia Mons volcano. (NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems)Clouds over crater - the dust storm season in the southern hemisphere of Mars was well underway. This image of an unnamed crater southeast of Hellas Basin shows the encroachment of a storm in the region. Image acquired in 2001 by Mars Odyssey orbiter (17 meter/pixel resolution). (NASA/JPL/ASU)Dust devil from above. This image taken by the Hi-RISE Camera aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter catches a dust devil blowing across the Martian surface. Dust devils generally form in the afternoon because the sunlight needs sufficient time to warm the surface. When this image was taken, the local time was about 3:08 p.m. The bright material is the dust within the vortex, and a dark shadow cast by the dust devil is visible to the left. The diameter of this dust devil is about 200 meters, but at the surface it is probably much smaller. Based on the length of the shadow in this image, the dust devil is on the order of 500 meters tall. (NASA/JPL/University of Arizona)Martian skies seen above a rolling horizon in this image, part of a larger image called the "McMurdo" panorama, taken in the Martian winter of 2006 by NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit. The tracks in the soil are from Spirits wheels as it rolled through the area earlier. (NASA/JPL/Cornell)Clouds above the rim of "Endurance Crater" in this image from NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity. These clouds occur in a region of strong vertical shear. The cloud particles (ice in this martian case) fall out, and get dragged along away from the location where they originally condensed, forming characteristic streamers. Opportunity took this picture with its navigation camera during the rover's 269th martian day (Oct. 26, 2004). (NASA/JPL)Early Spring Dust Storms at the North Pole of Mars. Early spring typically brings dust storms to northern polar Mars. As the north polar cap begins to thaw, the temperature difference between the cold frost region and recently thawed surface results in swirling winds. The choppy dust clouds of several dust storms are visible in this mosaic of images taken by the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft in 2002. The white polar cap is frozen carbon dioxide. (NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems)An exaggerated color image mosaic of images from NASA's Mars Rover Opportunity. The clouds can be composed of either carbon dioxide ice or water ice, and can move swiftly across the sky. (NASA/JPL/Cornell)Large dust storms cover much of Mars' surface in this July, 2001 image, acquired by NASA's Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera. By early July, the martian atmosphere was so hazy that opportunities for high resolution imaging of the planet were very limited. (NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems)The air is certainly thick enough to fill a parachute. On May 25th, 2008, the HiRISE camera onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter acquired this dramatic oblique image of its the arrival of its sister probe from NASA, the Phoenix Lander, descending on its parachute. Phoenix and its parachute can be barely seen in the larger image with 10 km wide crater informally called "Heimdall" in the background. Although it appears that Phoenix is descending into the crater, it is actually about 20 kilometers in front of the crater. Given the position and pointing angle of MRO, Phoenix is at about 13 km above the surface, just a few seconds after the parachute opened. (NASA/JPL/University of Arizona)On May 19th, 2005, NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit captured this stunning view as the Sun sank below the rim of Gusev crater on Mars. This Panoramic Camera mosaic was taken around 6:07 in the evening of the rover's 489th martian day, or sol. Spirit was commanded to stay awake briefly after sending that sol's data to the Mars Odyssey orbiter just before sunset. The image is a false color composite, showing the sky similar to what a human would see, but with the colors slightly exaggerated. (NASA/JPL/Texas A&M/Cornell)Higher in the Martian skies, we see one of its two moons. The HiRISE camera onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter acquired this dramatic view of the Martian moon, Phobos, on 23 March 2008, from a distance of 6,800 kilometers. The illuminated part of Phobos is about 21 km across. The most prominent feature is the large impact crater Stickney, in the upper left. With a diameter of 9 km, it is the largest feature on Phobos. (NASA/JPL/University of Arizona)Even higher in the Martian sky, the Earth and Moon hang in space, as seen from Mars. The HiRISE camera onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter acquired this image at 5:20 a.m. MST on October 3rd, 2007, at a range of 142 million kilometers, while orbiting Mars.This image was taken by NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander’s Surface Stereo Imager on Sol 15 (June 9, 2008), the 15th Martian day after landing. This panorama looks to the southeast and shows rocks casting shadows, polygons on the surface and in the far horizon, Phoenix’s backshell gleams in the distance.

The Phoenix Mission is led by the University of Arizona, Tucson, on behalf of NASA. Project management of the mission is by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. Spacecraft development is by Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona/Texas A&M UniversityThis image was taken during NASA's 1997 Pathfinder mission to Mars. The terrain at this northern equatorial region is uneven and rocky. The "Twin Peaks" hills can be seen in the background. NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander is scheduled to land in the northern arctic plains of Mars, where the landscape is much smoother with fewer rocks.
Image credit: NASA/JPLDuring the first 25 seconds after NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander deploys its parachute, the spacecraft will jettison its heat shield and extend its three legs.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of ArizonaThis mosaic image of Valles Marineris - colored to resemble the martian surface - comes from the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS), a visible-light and infrared-sensing camera on NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter.This artist's conception depicts NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander a moment before its touchdown on the arctic plains of Mars. Pulsed rocket engines control the spacecraft's speed during the final seconds of descent.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of ArizonaAcquired in March 2002, this Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) wide angle view shows the martian volcanoes, Ceraunius Tholus (lower) and Uranius Tholus (upper). The presence of impact craters on these volcanoes, particularly on Uranius Tholus; indicates that they are quite ancient and are not active today. The light-toned area on the southeastern face (toward lower right) of Ceraunius Tholus is a remnant of a once more extensive deposit of dust from the global dust storm events that occurred in 2001. The crater at the summit of Ceraunius Tholus is about 25 km (15.5 mi) across. Sunlight illuminates the scene from the lower left.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science SystemsThis scene comes from "Flight Through Mariner Valley," an exciting video produced for NASA by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The video takes viewers on a simulated flight into Valles Marineris, where they explore its scenic wonders as their imaginary scout ship dives low over landslides and races through winding canyons.Olympus Mons is a mountain of mystery. Taller than three Mount Everests and about as wide as the entire Hawaiian Island chain, this giant volcano is nearly as flat as a pancake. That is, its flanks typically only slope 2° to 5°.

Photo Credit: NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science SystemsThe two pictures shown here were taken by the MOC narrow angle (high resolution) camera and "colorized" by applying the colors of Mars obtained by the MOC wide angle cameras. Both pictures show gullies on the walls of two different meteor impact craters that occur in Newton Basin in Sirenum Terra, Mars. The picture on the left, showing gullies in a crater at 42.4°S, 158.2°W, exhibits patches of wintertime frost on the crater wall, and dark-toned sand dunes on the floor. The picture on the right, from a crater at 39.0°S, 166.1°W, is one of the highest-resolution images obtained from Mars. It's resolution is 1.5 meters (5 feet) per pixel--objects the size of school buses can be resolved in the full size image. The gullies in these craters originate at a specific layer and may have formed by release of groundwater to the martian surface in geologically recent times.

Photo Credit: NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science SystemsThe two pictures shown here were taken by the MOC narrow angle (high resolution) camera and "colorized" by applying the colors of Mars obtained by the MOC wide angle cameras. Both pictures show gullies on the walls of two different meteor impact craters that occur in Newton Basin in Sirenum Terra, Mars. The picture on the left, showing gullies in a crater at 42.4°S, 158.2°W, exhibits patches of wintertime frost on the crater wall, and dark-toned sand dunes on the floor. The picture on the right, from a crater at 39.0°S, 166.1°W, is one of the highest-resolution images obtained from Mars. It's resolution is 1.5 meters (5 feet) per pixel--objects the size of school buses can be resolved in the full size image. The gullies in these craters originate at a specific layer and may have formed by release of groundwater to the martian surface in geologically recent times.

Photo Credit: NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science SystemsThis image, taken by the HiRISE camera onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter reveals layered deposits on the floor of Uzboi Vallis. These deposits were emplaced when drainage along Uzboi was blocked by the formation of the rim of Holden Crater to the north.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL/University of ArizonaThis image is from Aram Chaos, a large crater connected to the Ares Vallis outflow channel. It is called “chaos” because of the rough floor topography, large slumped blocks and large fractures that may have been caused by removal of subsurface material.  Taken by the HiRISE camera onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL/University of ArizonaThis image shows rocks on the floor of Iani Chaos, a region of collapsed and disorganized terrain.

The chaotic terrains on Mars may have been the sources of floodwaters that carved the giant outflow channels. They typically contain irregular hills like the one in the center of this image. In some cases, they also have light-toned rocks exposed on the floors. The point of interest is to determine whether these rocks predate the chaos or formed after the collapse; however, the contacts may be obscured by later material mantling the ground.  Taken by the HiRISE camera onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/University of ArizonaThis image shows the west wall of a southern hemisphere crater. The scene is covered in dust devil tracks which appear as dark wispy features.

Dust devils are small-scale funnels that move across the surface kicking up dust as they go, thus leaving trails. The crater is covered in small polygons in many locations. These polygons are probably related to periglacial processes; for example, temperature cycling of ice-rich material or sublimation, when gases trapped under the surface escape causing the remaining terrain to collapse to form pits.  Taken by the HiRISE camera onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
 

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