NASA shows off Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s wildest snaps from the last 15 years

This false-color picture reveals rippling wind-blown dunes on Mars in 2009.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/College of Arizona

This story is part of Welcome to Mars, our series exploring the red planet.

NASA’s Mars rovers is likely to be glamorous attention-getters, however they’ve a quieter sibling within the martian skies. 

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) left Earth 15 years in the past on Aug. 12. NASA celebrated the anniversary this week by highlighting some of the spacecraft’s finest images of the pink planet.

Mars does not have the blues. A few of MRO’s photographs seem in distinctly un-martian colours due to the usage of false colour, a picture processing approach that helps sure particulars stand out.  

A big meteor smacked into Mars and created this crater. MRO’s Context Digital camera instrument noticed this crater and NASA initially shared this HiRise picture in 2014. The colours are processed to spotlight the crater’s options.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

This crater is 100 ft (30 meters) in diameter and is one in all many spectacular craters discovered on Mars. The skinny martian environment does not dissipate meteors the identical means Earth’s does. 

MRO is provided with three cameras. The Mars Shade Imager takes fisheye photographs, the Context Digital camera snaps the floor in black and white and the Excessive-Decision Imaging Science Experiment (HiRise) delivers many of the knockout views we have come to count on from the orbiter.

MRO’s HiRise digital camera caught this view of a towering mud satan in 2012.


This picture of a mud satan on Mars comes from the HiRise digital camera in 2012. It was huge. “The size of this whirlwind’s shadow signifies that it was greater than half a mile (800 meters) excessive — concerning the measurement of the United Arab Emirate’s Burj Khalifa, the tallest constructing on Earth,” NASA said

The MRO anniversary highlights collection is gorgeous by way of and thru, from a view of Earth from an incredible distance to a shot of a the small moon Phobos. 

MRO could also be one of many oldest spacecraft on the pink planet, nevertheless it is not eager about retirement. This is to extra years of attractive photographs of Mars.

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Amanda Kooser