If it’s quiet solitude and beauty you seek, there is no better place than the surface of Mars. Mars has, long ago, earned its jis moniker as the red planet, but the HiRISE camera aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) can transform the subtle differences of soils into a rainbow of colors.
For 10 years, HiRISE has recorded gorgeous- and scientifically valuable – images of Mars. Its photos are so detailed that scientists can examine the planet’s features at the scale of just a few feet, including the recent crash site of Europe’s Schiaparelli Mars lander.
A large chasm:
Some dark, rust-colored dunes in Russell Crater:
NASA might land its next nuclear-powered Mars 2020 rover mission here.
The black splotch is where the European Space Agency’s Schiaparelli Mars lander crashed. The white specks, pointed out with arrows, are pieces of the lander.
Zebra skin. Just kidding, this is a dune field that’s speckled with oval-shaped mineral deposits:
False-coloring this image makes a giant dune and its gullies look blue.
A possible landing site for the ExoMars 2020 mission, which the European Space Agency is running.
A North Pole dune field nicknamed “Kolhar,” after Frank Herbert’s fictional world.
Carbon dioxide that turns from solid to gas carves out these strange shapes at Mars’ south pole:
A recent impact crater on Mars. (We’re pretty sure no one put out a giant cigarette here.)
‘Spiders’ are eruptions of dust caused by the way the Martian surface warms and cools:
Cerberus Palus crater showing off layered sediments:
NASA keeps an eye of gullies like this for small landslides – and any water that melts in the warm sun to form darker-colored mud.
Another gully scientists are having HiRISE monitor:
Glacial terrain looks strangely iridescent:
A steep slope in Eastern Noctis Labyrinthus: