NASA Just Released These Images of Mars. We Can’t Believe It!
We all sort of know what the surface of Mars looks like – and we’re all wrong. Those geniuses over at NASA have a much better idea thanks to the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and its powerful camera. The camera, called HiRISE, has been taking spectacular pics for years: It turns out that Mars has a whole lot more fascinating, beautiful and sometimes creepy landscapes than we thought.
To find out just what you’re missing, check out these images and what a little color shifting can do to the incredible world of Mars – and the ongoing search for water and life.
Bedrock Hiding Big Secrets
It doesn’t look like much at first glance, but just wait – this is bedrock in the Capri Chasma. As you may know, bedrock is the rock you find underneath soil. NASA is always on the lookout for signs of water on Mars, and this bedrock may have been exposed by ancient floodwaters! More on this water angle in a few slides – stay tuned.
Boom Goes the Meteor
We don’t usually think of meteors as striking Mars, but they do it all the time – and it looks a lot like this. This photo is interesting because it’s a very recent strike, and you can see the literal impact it made. Because of Mars’ thin atmosphere and dead soil, the effect is very similar to the craters we see on the moon.
Put Your Apron On
This is not a picture of random squiggles, but rather a “debris apron,” which happens when sheer cliffs slowly crumble apart, leaving little landslides of fallen rock and more gentle, sweeping hills. Even in Mars, things don’t last forever.
We’re Big Alluvial Fans
Okay, back to water! Scientists are constantly searching for signs of water on Mars. One of the big signs is an “alluvial fan” or piece of the landscape that looks like it was formed by water slowly running down into an ocean or lake. Look at the feathery pattern in the middle – see how it looks worn down by water?