Mars as art images obtained by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft (8 photos)

5 November 2023
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The HiRISE (High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) photographed hundreds of target areas on the surface of Mars in unprecedented detail.





Unlike Earth, this snow and ice is made of carbon dioxide, better known to us as dry ice. When the sun begins to shine on it in the spring, the ice on the smooth surface of the dune cracks and the escaping gas carries away the dark sand from the dune below, often creating beautiful patterns.



This image shows part of a group of cellular landforms in northwestern Hellas Planitia, which is part of one of the largest and oldest impact basins on Mars.



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This image was taken during the Martian boreal summer, so there is no frost on the dunes. The dunes closest to the base of the polar cap are long and parallel, indicating strong winds from the cap. As they move away from the polar cap, they begin to form more and more crescent-shaped dunes called barchan dunes.



Many Martian landscapes contain features familiar to those we find on Earth, such as river valleys, cliffs, glaciers and volcanoes. However, Mars also has an exotic side, with landscapes that are foreign to Earthlings. This photo shows one such exotic location at the South Pole. The polar cap is made of carbon dioxide (dry ice), which does not occur naturally on Earth. The circular pits are holes in this layer of dry ice that expand several meters every Martian year.



Sand dunes cover much of this area, with large boulders lying in the flat areas between the dunes.



Nili Patera is an area on Mars where dunes and ripples move rapidly. HiRISE continues to monitor this area every couple of months to see changes on seasonal and annual time scales.



This image shows an impact crater about 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) wide in a region that was flooded by lava.



Ice avalanches on steep ledges

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