The Details Are In The Dunes

And what details! This image, acquired by the HiRISE camera aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on Jan. 24, 2014, shows rippled dunes in Mars’ southern hemisphere, coated with a fall dusting of seasonal carbon dioxide frost. With the Sun just five degrees above the horizon, the surface detail captured by HiRISE is simply exquisite. Be…

Mars Gets a Brand New Crater

If you count at least slightly over two years old as “brand new” then yes, this one is certainly that! Seen above in an image taken by the HiRISE camera aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on Nov. 19, 2013, a 100-foot-wide (30-meter) crater is surrounded by bright rays of ejected material and blown-clear surface. Since…

New Mars Rover is a Litterbug!

Only two days on Mars and Curiosity has already made a mess! 🙂 The various components from MSL’s descent and landing process have been spotted by the HiRISE camera aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, scattered in the vicinity of Curiosity within Gale crater. MSL’s heat shield, parachute, back shell and sky crane (with a very…

Three Devils, One Image

The HiRISE camera aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Oribiter captured this image of Mars’ surface, showing the presence of three different dust devils in the same region. Dust devils are common during the springtime on Mars’ northern hemisphere, when increased sunlight heats the surface and causes air to rise rapidly in spinning columns. The image was…

The Devil’s Shadow

The 800-meter-tall plume of a dust devil casts a long shadow on the surface of Mars in this image from the HiRISE camera aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Caused by warm air near the ground rapidly rising in spinning columns, dust devils are a common sight on Mars during the northern spring season. Read more…

Martian Hazard #271: Falling Frost Avalanches!

As spring comes to Mars’ north polar latitudes, the added sunlight warms layers of subsurface CO2 ice, which can rapidly sublimate and force its way outwards and upwards. When this occurs along the edges of steep scarps, as seen in the image above, the rapid expansion of the CO2 – literally ‘dry ice’ – can…

A Look Inside Mars

This new HiRISE image gives us a deeper look into Mars… literally! Earlier this year a crater was spotted on Mars with a dark spot at its center. When the HiRISE team at the University of Arizona took a closer look with the MRO’s high-resolution camera they saw that the spot is actually a 115-foot-wide…

From the LITD Archives: Face to Face

Remember the photo of the mysterious “face on Mars” taken by the Viking spacecraft in 1976? Well here’s the same landform, imaged by the HiRISE camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Just goes to show that things aren’t always what they seem. The surprisingly human-looking “face” was really just a trick of the light combined…

Mars by Student Request

This nearly 600-foot-wide pit is located on the southeastern side of Pavonis Mons, a large extinct volcano in Mars’ Tharsis region. This detailed image was taken by the HiRISE camera aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The idea for this close-up was suggested to the HiRISE team by a team of seventh graders at Evergreen Middle…