First Color Mars Images From New Orbiter

Apr 07, 2006
First Color Mars Images From New Orbiter

This is the first color image of Mars from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The blankets of material ejected from the many small fresh craters are generally brighter and redder than the surrounding surface, but a few are darker and less red.

This is the first color image of Mars from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. At the center portion of the camera's array of light detectors there are extra detectors to image in green and near-infrared color bandpasses, to be combined with the black-and-white images (from red-bandpass detectors) to create color images. This is not natural color as seen by human eyes, but infrared color -- shifted to longer wavelengths.

This image also has been processed to enhance subtle color variations. The southern half of the scene is brighter and bluer than the northern half, perhaps due to early-morning fog in the atmosphere. Large-scale streaks in the northern half are due to the action of wind on surface materials. The blankets of material ejected from the many small fresh craters are generally brighter and redder than the surrounding surface, but a few are darker and less red.

Two greenish spots in the middle right of the scene may have an unusual composition, and are good future targets for the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars, a mineral-identifying instrument on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter ( crism.jhuapl.edu/). In the bottom half of the image we see a redder color in the rough areas, where wind and sublimation of water or carbon dioxide ice have partially eroded patches of smooth-textured deposits.

This image was taken by HiRISE on March 24, 2006. The image is centered at 33.65 degrees south latitude, 305.07 degrees east longitude. It is oriented such that north is 7 degrees to the left of up. The range to the target was 2,493 kilometers (1,549 miles). At this distance the image scale is 2.49 meters (8.17 feet) per pixel, so objects as small as 7.5 meters (24.6 feet) are resolved. In total this image is 49.92 kilometers (31.02 miles) or 20,081 pixels wide and 23.66 kilometers (14.70 miles) or 9,523 pixels long. The image was taken at a local Mars time of 07:33 and the scene is illuminated from the upper right with a solar incidence angle of 78 degrees, thus the sun was 12 degrees above the horizon. At an Ls of 29 degrees (with Ls an indicator of Mars' position in its orbit around the sun), the season on Mars is southern autumn.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

Explore further: Some potentially habitable planets began as gaseous, Neptune-like worlds

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Hands-on with Microsoft's hologram device

Jan 23, 2015

Microsoft didn't use skydivers or stunt cyclists to introduce what it hopes will be the next big leap in computing technology. Instead, with its new HoloLens headset, the company is offering real-world examples ...

Some of the best pictures of the planets in our solar system

Jan 19, 2015

Our Solar System is a pretty picturesque place. Between the Sun, the Moon, and the Inner and Outer Solar System, there is no shortage of wondrous things to behold. But arguably, it is the eight planets that make up our Solar ...

What other worlds have we landed on?

Jan 14, 2015

Think of all the different horizons humans have viewed on other worlds. The dust-filled skies of Mars. The Moon's inky darkness. Titan's orange haze. These are just a small subset of the worlds that humans ...

NASA image: Sedimentary signs of a Martian lakebed

Dec 10, 2014

This evenly layered rock photographed by the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on NASA's Curiosity Mars Rover shows a pattern typical of a lake-floor sedimentary deposit not far from where flowing water entered a lake. ...

Recommended for you

NASA engineer advances new daytime star tracker

2 hours ago

Scientists who use high-altitude scientific balloons have high hopes for their instruments in the future. Although the floating behemoths that carry their instruments far into the stratosphere can stay aloft ...

Image: Sounding rockets launch into an aurora

2 hours ago

The interaction of solar winds and Earth's atmosphere produces northern lights, or auroras, that dance across the night sky and mesmerize the casual observer. However, to scientists this interaction is more ...

Gully patterns document Martian climate cycles

2 hours ago

Geologists from Brown University have found new evidence that glacier-like ice deposits advanced and retreated multiple times in the midlatitude regions of Mars in the relatively recent past.

Europe to resume satnav launches in March: Arianespace

2 hours ago

Europe in March will resume satellite launches for its troubled Galileo navigation system, hoping to boost by at least six the number of orbiters this year, Arianespace and the European Commission said Wednesday.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.