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…

Ditches, Devils and Dunes

  There’s a lot going on in this image from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s HiRISE camera…swirling dust devil tracks paint dark streaks over the sand dunes within Russell Crater (click here for a larger view of the region) while long “peculiar” ditches run snakelike down the crater’s sloped walls. Click the image above for a…

Permanent Freeze

  No it’s not Pan’s labyrinth, it’s a HiRISE image of a portion of Mars’ south polar ice cap showing frozen mesas made of layers of carbon dioxide ice. During the winter months on Mars – which is considerably colder than Earth – carbon dioxide is deposited as frost in the upper latitudes and evaporates…

The World with the Dragon Tattoo

A serpentine shape twists across the floor and walls of a canyon on Mars, suggesting the form of a dragon snaking across a clouded sky. This image from the HiRISE camera on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows light-colored material deposited onto the darker-toned surface, possibly through a flow of some sort, in a corner…