A Clear Blue Sky on Mars

An Earthlike view of the 18,000-foot-high Mount Sharp (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)
An Earthlike view of the 18,000-foot-high Mount Sharp (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

There’s nothing like a beautiful sunny day in Gale crater! The rusty sand crunching beneath your wheels, a gentle breeze blowing at a balmy 6º C (43º F), Mount Sharp rising in the distance into a clear blue sky… wait, did I just say blue sky?

Yes I did. But no worries — Mars hasn’t sprouted a nitrogen-and-oxygen atmosphere overnight. The image above is a crop from a panorama made of images from NASA’s Curiosity rover showing Gale crater’s central peak, Mount Sharp (officially Aeolis Mons.) Don’t let the blue sky fool you though — the lighting has been purposely adjusted to look like a sunlit scene on Earth… if only to let geologists more easily refer to their own experience when studying the Martian landscape.

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4 Comments

  1. lay low watch the universe expand I ❤ Clutch

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  2. “the lighting has been purposely adjusted to look like a sunlit scene on Earth…”

    It IS a sunlit scene!!! Just not on Earth. This makes the photo 40% less bright. Is there any other sources of light on Mars? So the image MUST show the actual color.

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    1. J. P. Major says:

      Right…. adjusted to look like “a sunlit scene on Earth.” Except it’s on Mars, where coloration is different because of ambient lighting through the Martian atmosphere.

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