Tiny ‘flower’ formation spotted on Mars by Curiosity rover

NASA’s Curiosity rover used two cameras to create this selfie in front of “Mont Mercou,” a 20-foot-tall rock formation.

This perspective of the Valles Marineris hemisphere of Mars, from July 9, 2013, is actually a mosaic comprising 102 images from Viking Orbiter. At the center is the Valles Marineris canyon system, over 2,000 kilometers long and 8 kilometers deep.

This 2016 self-portrait of the Curiosity Mars rover shows the vehicle at the Quela drill site in the Murray Buttes area on the bottom of Mount Sharp.

This photo of a preserved river channel on Mars was taken by an orbiting satellite, with color overlay to show different elevations. Blue is low and yellow is high.

The European Space Agency’s Mars Express mission captured this 2018 image of the Korolev crater, more than 50 miles in diameter and filled with water ice, near the north pole.

The Mars reconnaissance orbiter used its HiRISE camera to get this view of an unusually textured area on the southern floor of Gale Crater.

Cooled lava has helped preserve the imprint of where dunes once moved in a southeastern region of Mars. But it also looks like the “Star Trek” symbol.

Although Mars is not geologically active like Earth, its surface features have been heavily shaped by the wind. Such wind-sculpted features, called yardangs, are common on the Red Planet. On the sand, the wind forms ripples and small dunes. In Mars’ thin atmosphere, light is not scattered much, so shadows cast by yardangs are sharp and dark.

These small, hematite-rich concretions are found near Fram crater, visited by NASA’s Opportunity rover in April 2004. The area shown is 1.2 inches in diameter. The view is from Opportunity’s robotic arm microscopic imager, with color information added from the rover’s panoramic camera. These minerals suggest that Mars had an aquatic past.

This image shows seasonal flows in Valles Marineris on Mars, called recurrent slope lines, or RSLs. These Martian landslides appear on slopes in spring and summer.

Mars is known to have planet-circling dust storms. These 2001 images from NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor orbiter show a dramatic change in the appearance of the planet as haze raised by dust storm activity in the south spread globally.

This composite image, looking towards the highest regions of Mount Sharp, was taken in September 2015 by NASA’s Curiosity rover. In the foreground is a long ridge teeming with hematite. Just beyond is a rolling plain rich in clay minerals. And just beyond are a multitude of rounded mounds, all rich in sulfate minerals. The changing mineralogy of these layers suggests a changing environment at the start of Mars, although all of them imply exposure to water billions of years ago.

InSight’s seismometer first recorded an “earthquake” in April 2019.

From its perch on a ridge, Opportunity recorded this 2016 image of a Martian dust devil writhing in the valley below. The view returns to the rover tracks leading to the northern slope of Knudsen’s Ridge, which is part of the southern edge of Marathon Valley.

HiRISE captured stratified deposits and a bright ice cap at the Martian north pole.

Nili Patera is a region of Mars in which dunes and ripples move rapidly. HiRISE, aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, continues to monitor this area every two months to see changes on seasonal and annual time scales.

NASA’s Curiosity rover captured its highest-resolution panorama of the Martian surface in late 2019. It includes more than 1,000 images and 1.8 billion pixels.

This image, combining data from two instruments aboard NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor, depicts an orbital view of Mars’ north polar region. The ice-rich polar cap is 621 miles in diameter and the dark bands are deep troughs. To the right of center, a large canyon, Chasma Boreale, nearly cuts through the ice sheet. Chasma Boreale is about the length of the famous Grand Canyon in the United States and up to 2 km deep.

A dramatic, cool impact crater dominates this image taken by the HiRISE camera in November 2013. The crater spans approximately 100 feet and is surrounded by a large radiated blast zone. Because the terrain where the crater formed is dusty, the fresh crater appears blue in the enhanced color of the image, due to the removal of reddish dust in this area.

This dark mound, called Ireson Hill, sits on the Murray Formation on the bottom of Mount Sharp, near where NASA’s Curiosity rover examined a linear sand dune in February 2017.

Is it cookies and cream on Mars? No, these are just polar dunes sprinkled with ice and sand.

The cloud in the center of this image is actually a dust tower that occurred in 2010 and was captured by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Blue and white clouds are water vapor.

HiRISE took this image of a mile-sized crater in the southern hemisphere of Mars in June 2014. The crater shows frost on all of its south-facing slopes in late winter as Mars heads into spring .

The two largest earthquakes detected by NASA’s InSight appear to originate from a region of Mars called Cerberus Fossae. Scientists have already spotted signs of tectonic activity here, including landslides. This image was taken by the HiRISE camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

This image is the first photograph ever taken from the surface of Mars. It was taken on July 20, 1976 by the Viking 1 lander shortly after landing on the planet.


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