April 18, 2024

Balkan Travellers

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The Curiosity rover captures a color postcard of Mars

NASA

This panoramic composite image, taken by NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover on April 8, 2023, shows the Marker Band valley in color and at different times of the day.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/OR Arizona

A bear’s face appears to be forming on Mars in this new image taken by the HiRISE camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Two openings form the eyes, a circular fracture forms the face, and a V-shaped collapsing structure represents the nose.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

The Curiosity rover discovered this rock, smaller than a penny, that looks like a flower or piece of coral inside Gale Crater on February 24. The shards in this image were created billions of years ago when water-borne minerals cemented rock.

Jet Propulsion Laboratory- Caltech/MSSS/NASA

NASA’s Curiosity rover used two cameras to create this self-portrait in front of “Mont Mirco,” a 20-foot rock formation.

Jet Propulsion Laboratory – California Institute of Technology / NASA

Creativity Helicopter captured this colorful image of Mars from 16 feet above the planet’s surface in April 2021. It’s First color photo Ever during the flight by helicopter on Mars.

Jet Propulsion Laboratory – California Institute of Technology / NASA

This view of a hemisphere in Valles Marineris, from July 9, 2013, is actually a mosaic of 102 Viking Orbiter images. In the center is the Valles Marineris Valley system, which is more than 2,000 km long and up to 8 km deep.

Jet Propulsion Laboratory- Caltech/MSSS/NASA

This 2016 self-image from the Curiosity Mars rover shows it at the Quela drill site in the Murray Buttes region of lower Mount Sharp.

NASA

This image of a preserved river channel on Mars was taken by an orbiting satellite, with color overlay to show different elevations. Blue is low and yellow is high.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. Arizona

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter used its HiRISE camera to obtain this view of an unusually textured area on the south floor of Gale Crater.

NASA

The cooling lava helped preserve the imprint of where the dunes moved across the southeastern region of Mars. But it also appears to be a “Star Trek” icon.

Jet Propulsion Laboratory – California Institute of Technology / University of Arizona / NASA

Although Mars is not as geologically active as Earth, its surface features are heavily shaped by winds. Wind-sculpted features like these, called yardangs, are common on the Red Planet. On the sand, the wind forms small ripples and dunes. In Mars’ thin atmosphere, light doesn’t scatter as much, so the shadows cast by Yarding are sharp and dark.

Jet Propulsion Laboratory- Caltech/Cornell/USGS/NASA

These small, hemite-rich concretes lie near Fram Crater, which was visited by NASA’s Opportunity spacecraft in April 2004. The area shown is 1.2 inches across. The view comes from the microscope imaging device on Opportunity’s robotic arm, with color information added from the rover’s panoramic camera. These minerals indicate that Mars had a watery past.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. Arizona

This image shows seasonal outflows in the Valles Marineris on Mars, called the recurring slope line, or RSL. These Martian landslides appear on the slopes during the spring and summer.

Jet Propulsion Laboratory- Caltech/MSSS/NASA

Mars is known to have dust storms surrounding the planet. These images, taken in 2001 from NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor orbiter, show a dramatic change in the planet’s appearance when haze from dust storm activity in the south spread globally.

Jet Propulsion Laboratory- Caltech/MSSS/NASA

This composite image, which looks out over the higher reaches of Mount Sharp, was taken in September 2015 by NASA’s Curiosity rover. In the foreground is a long ridge teeming with hematite. Beyond that is an undulating plain rich in clay minerals. And then there are many rounded hills, all high in sulfate minerals. Altered minerals in these layers point to a changing environment in early Mars, though they all involve exposure to water billions of years ago.

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NASA/JPL-Caltech

InSight’s seismometer recorded a “swamp quake” for the first time in April 2019.

Jet Propulsion Laboratory – California Institute of Technology / NASA

From its perch high on a hillside, Opportunity recorded this 2016 image of the Martian dust devil snaking across the valley below. The view looks at rover tracks leading up the north-facing slope of Knudsen Ridge, which forms part of the southern edge of the Marathon Valley.

Jet Propulsion Laboratory- California Institute of Technology/University. Arizona/NASA

HiRISE has captured layered sediments and a bright ice cap in the Martian north pole.

Jet Propulsion Laboratory- California Institute of Technology/University. Arizona/NASA

Nili Patera is a region on Mars where dunes and ripples move quickly. HiRISE, aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, continues to monitor this region every two months to see changes on seasonal and annual time scales.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

NASA’s Curiosity rover captured the highest resolution panorama of the Martian surface in late 2019. This includes more than 1,000 images and 1.8 billion pixels.

Jet Propulsion Laboratory- Caltech/MSSS/NASA

This image, which combines data from two instruments aboard NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor, depicts an orbital view of Mars’ north polar region. The ice-rich polar cap is 621 miles across, and the dark bands within it are deep basins. To the right of centre, a large valley, Chasma Boreale, roughly bisects the ice sheet. Chasma Boreale is located around the length of the famous Grand Canyon in the United States and reaches a depth of 1.2 miles.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

This dark hill, called Ireson Hill, is in the Murray Formation on the lower portion of Mount Sharp, near the site where NASA’s Curiosity rover examined the linear sand dune in February 2017.

CaSSIS / ESA / Roscosmos

Is that biscuits and cream on Mars? No, it’s just polar dunes covered in ice and sand.

MSSS/JPL-Caltech/NASA

The cloud in the center of this image is actually a dust tower that occurred in 2010 and was captured by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The blue and white clouds are water vapor.

Jet Propulsion Laboratory – California Institute of Technology / University of Arizona / NASA

HiRISE captured this image of a kilometer-sized crater in Mars’ southern hemisphere in June 2014. The crater shows frost on all of its south-facing slopes in late winter as Mars approaches spring.

Jet Propulsion Laboratory – California Institute of Technology / University of Arizona / NASA

The two largest earthquakes detected by NASA’s InSight appear to have originated in a region of Mars called Cerberus Fossae. Scientists have previously detected signs of tectonic activity here, including landslides. This image was taken by the HiRISE camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

NASA

This image is the first image taken from the surface of Mars. It was taken on July 20, 1976 by the Viking 1 lander shortly after touchdown with the planet.