This set of images shows what might be hardware from the Soviet Union's 1971 Mars 3 lander, seen in a pair of images from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Image released April 11, 2013. [Full Story]
NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter snapped this series of pictures of sand dunes in the north polar region of Mars, showing how dark sand rises to the top as spring progresses (from left to right) and a surface layer of carbon dioxide ice cracks . The area covered in each panel is about 0.8 mile wide.
This nearly global mosaic of observations made by the Mars Color Imager on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on Nov. 18, 2012, shows a dust storm in Mars' southern hemisphere. Small white arrows outline the area where dust from the storm is apparent in the atmosphere. [Full Story]
Locations of NASA's Mars rovers Opportunity and Curiosity are labeled. Black areas in the mosaic are the result of data drops or high angle roll maneuvers by the orbiter that limit the camera's view of the planet. Equally-spaced blurry areas that run from south-to-north (bottom-to-top) result from the high off-nadir viewing geometry, a product of the spacecraft's low-orbit.
The Nili Fossae region of Mars is one of the largest exposures of clay minerals discovered. In this HiRISE false-color image, dark blue regions are volcanic minerals. Light-toned areas are clay-rich material and may contain water and organic materials--a possible place where life can be supported.
The gully system in the Promethei Terra region of Mars appears to have been carved by melt water and may be the most recent period when water was active on the planet.
This is the first color image of Mars from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. This is not natural color as seen by human eyes, but infrared color, shifted to longer wavelengths. The image has been processed to enhance subtle color variations. Seen in the image is what appears to be early-morning fog in the atmosphere. Large-scale streaks are due to the action of wind on surface materials. The blankets of material ejected from the many small fresh craters are generally brighter and redder than the surrounding surface, but a few are darker and less red. Image
This enhanced-color view shows gullies in an unnamed crater in the Terra Sirenum region of Mars. It is a sub-image from a larger view imaged by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on Oct. 3, 2006. This scene is about 254 meters (about 830 feet) wide.
This is an artist's concept of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter during its critical Mars Orbit Insertion process. In order to be captured into orbit around Mars, the spacecraft must conduct a 25-minute rocket burn when it is just shy of reaching the planet. As pictured, it will pass under the red planet's southern hemisphere as it begins the insertion. Image
Putting on the brakes! Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is now dipping into the martian atmosphere to adjust its orbit. The controlled use of atmospheric friction is a process called “aerobraking”, a technique that changes the initial, very elongated orbit of the orbiter into a rounder shape optimal for science operations at Mars. Image
The first image from HiRISE reveals a small portion of the floor of Ius Chasma, one branch of the giant Valles Marineris system of canyons on Mars. The MRO spacecraft was about 174 miles (280 km) above the Martian surface when this picture was taken.
The bright irregularly-shaped feature in area “a” of the image is Opportunity’s parachute, now lying on the martian surface. Near the parachute is the cone-shaped “backshell” that helped protect Opportunity’s lander during its seven-month journey to Mars. Dark surface material may have been disturbed when the backshell touched down, exposing the lighter-toned materials seen next to the backshell.
The upper-most layers of rock in many areas of Valles Marineris on Mars have been stripped away by erosion, providing a glimpse of the subsurface that was once buried deep underground. Some fractures in the rock show evidence of fluid alteration, yielding clues into the ancient fluid chemistry and habitability of the subsurface.
This image has captured at least four Martian avalanches, or debris falls, in action. It was taken on February 19, 2008, by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
The Martian moon Phobos as seen by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's HiRISE camera on March 23, 2008.
The butterfly-like object in this picture is NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander, as seen from above by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera acquired this image of Phoenix hanging from its parachute as it descended to the Martian surface. Although it appears that Phoenix is descending into the crater, it is actually about 20 kilometers (about 12 miles) in front of the crater.
Dense clusters of crack-like structures called deformation bands form the linear ridges in this Mars image from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
This image shows a trough that has been carved in Mars' north polar layered deposits by erosion. The conical mound part-way down the slope is indicate a buried crater underneath the ice-rich deposits.
Images taken by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have revealed Martian rocks containing a hydrated mineral similar to opal (these are light-toned and appear cream-colored in this false-color image taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera). The opal minerals are located in distinct beds of rock outside of the large Valles Marineris canyon system and are also found in rocks within the canyon.
This HiRISE image shows TARs near Schiaparelli Crater in the equatorial region of Mars. The TARs (lighter tones) seem to have a dominant SW-NE trend, suggesting that they formed from winds that blew from the NW or SE. The TARs are very young (or at least have been mobile in the very recent past) as there are almost no small impact craters visible on them.
Sequences of cyclic sedimentary rock layers exposed in an unnamed crater (located at 8N, 353E) in Arabia Terra, Mars.
A close-up view of the eroded terrain in Nili Fossae using a CRISM infrared image to colorize a high-resolution HiRISE camera image. Beneath a rough-textured capping rock unit (purple) are banded olivine-bearing layers (yellow) which in some places have been partially altered to carbonate (bright green). The image is approximately 2.5 km across. Credit NASA/JPL/JHUAPL/University of Arizona/Brown University
Solid carbon dioxide, commonly known as dry ice, thaws directly to gas and forms starburst patterns under the seasonal carbon dioxide ice caps when spring comes to Mars' polar regions. Image taken by the HiRISE camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
Domed polygons found throughout the Athabasca Vallis head-regions area.
An image of the Victoria Crater on Mars was captured by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
This close-up view of Mars from Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter zooms in on Close-up channels connecting ancient depressions, suggesting that lakes once drained into each other about 3 billion years ago, researchers say.
This new image of Mars taken by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows an optical illusion. What appears to be trees rising from the Martian surface are actually dark streaks of collapsed material running down sand dunes due to carbon dioxide frost evaporation. The image was released in Jan. 2010.
This oblique view shows geological layers of rock exposed on a mound inside Gale Crater on Mars. This is a lower portion of the mound, with the crater floor at the left (and lowest) edge of the image. Layers near the bottom of the mound contain clay and sulfate minerals that indicate wet conditions. Overlying rock layers contain sulfates with little or no clay, consistent with these layers forming in an environment in which water was evaporating and Mars was drying out.
A digital terrain model generated from a stereo pair of images provides this synthesized, oblique view of a portion of the wall terraces of Mojave Crater in the Xanthe Terra region of Mars. This view, in which the vertical dimension is exaggerated three-fold compared with horizontal dimensions, shows the ponding of material backed up behind massive wall-terrace blocks of bedrock.
The Shallow Radar instrument on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has detected widespread deposits of glacial ice in the mid-latitudes of Mars. This map of a region known as Deuteronilus Mensae, in the northern hemisphere, shows locations of the detected ice deposits in blue.
A composite of the first images of Martian sites suggested by the public as part of a participatory exploration program with NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The eight images were released March 31, 2010. Full story.
View of the north polar region of Mars from orbit. The ice- rich polar cap (quasi-circular white area at center) is about 1,000 km across. It is bisected by a large canyon, Chasma Boreale, on the right side. Chasma Boreale is about the size of the Grand Canyon in the U.S. and up to 2 km deep.
Color HiRISE image of the central peak of Leighton Crater showing inter-layered carbonate (light colored) and chlorite (dark colored) units. These rocks suggest that inter-layered carbonate and clay sediments have been metamorphosed at depth due to hydrothermal conditions.
These gullies on a Martian sand dune resemble features on Earth that are carved by water. However, they were likely formed by processes related to the winter buildup of carbon-dioxide frost, according to a new study. The top photo was taken in March 2008 (Martian autumn), the middle one in July 2009 (summer) and the bottom photo in October 2010 (winter). All were taken by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
Images like this from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter show portions of the Martian surface in unprecedented detail. This one shows many channels from 1 meter to 10 meters (approximately 3 feet to 33 feet) wide on a scarp in the Hellas impact basin. On Earth we would call these gullies. Some larger channels on Mars that are sometimes called gullies are big enough to be called ravines on Earth.
This image combining orbital imagery with 3-D modeling shows flows that appear in spring and summer on a slope inside Mars' Newton crater.
A dune in the northern polar region of Mars shows significant changes between two images taken on June 25, 2008 and May 21, 2010 by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
Images taken by the UA-led High Resolution Imaging Experiment, or HiRISE, reveal new impact craters that formed between 2010 and 2011.
One of many fresh impact craters spotted by the UA-led HiRISE camera, orbiting the Red Planet on board NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter since 2006.
Mars gets blasted with space rocks much more frequently than Earth because they are less likely to burn up in its thinner atmosphere.