Latest Photos from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

Mars Orbiter Spies Rover Landing Site

NASA/JPL/University of Arizona.

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.

Underground Plumbing System Discovered on Mars


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.

Avalanche Photographed on Mars

NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

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.

Mars Moon Seen Up Close

NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

The Martian moon Phobos as seen by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's HiRISE camera on March 23, 2008.

Phoenix Mars Lander Spotted from Space

NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona.

The butterfly-like object in this picture is NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander, as seen from above by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Orbiter Catches Sounds from Phoenix Mars Descent

NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

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.

Signs of Underground Plumbing Seen on Mars

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

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.

Impact Crater Exhumed from Mars Ice

NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

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.

New Signs That Ancient Mars Was Wet

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

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.

Strange Sand Ripples on Mars Explained


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.

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