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…

Watching Over Spirit

As a poignant reminder that Spirit is now officially at rest in its permanent position next to Home Plate, the HiRISE team released this image today showing the sun glinting brightly off the rover’s solar panels, visible to the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter high above. Even though it may have fallen silent, Spirit will always be…

Mars’ Underground Atmosphere

Scientists have spotted an underground reservoir near Mars’ south pole the size of Lake Superior… except that this lake is filled with frozen carbon dioxide – a.k.a. “dry ice”! A recent report by scientists at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, CO reveals variations in Mars’ axial tilt can change how much carbon dioxide gets…

Icy Spiders

  Near Mars’ polar regions, spidery cracks and crevasses in the surface hold the last remnants of the winter season’s carbon dioxide frost – a.k.a. “dry ice” – which will eventually evaporate into the Martian atmosphere as CO2 gas. This process is seen on Earth only in specialized manmade situations such as when used as…

An Opportunity From Above

The eye in the sky sees all…especially when that eye is the HiRISE camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter! Here’s another great image – this time in color! – of the crater known as Santa Maria, taken from over 150 miles above the Martian surface by the MRO…and if you look carefully at the lower…

Desert Planet

Can’t see the video below? Click here. Here’s the most recent HiClip – a collection of images from the HiRISE camera aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, assembled and set to music by the HiRISE imaging team at the University of Arizona. These recent images show some fascinating desert-type terrain across Mars, resembling Earth deserts except…

Beautiful Barchans

Barchan sand dunes in Mars’ Arkhangelsky Crater This image from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s HiRISE camera features a barchan dune within the floor of Arkhangelsky Crater on Mars, one of its forward-facing “horns” displaying a sharp, serpentine ridge. The dunes in Arkhangelsky Crater are made of darker-colored material than the surrounding landscape, although the image…