NASA’s Mars orbiter captures stunning images of planet’s surface

Launched 10 years ago, NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has encircled Mars 40,000 times and counting – returning to scientists not only mounds of weekly data but also stunning images of the planet’s surface. The spacecraft’s High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera captured the following photographs of Mars’ diverse exterior, revealing the frost-coated gullies, wind-crafted slopes, cascading dunes, and jagged impact craters of the Red Planet.

Light Toned Deposit in the Aureum Chaos Region on Mars. The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter acquired this closeup image of a light-toned deposit in Aureum Chaos, a 368 kilometer (229 mile) wide area in the eastern part of Valles Marineris, on Jan. 15, 2015, at 2:51 p.m. local Mars time.
Photo courtesy NASA
Frosty Gullies on the Northern Plains of Mars. Seasonal frost commonly forms at middle and high latitudes on Mars, much like winter snow on Earth. However, on Mars most frost is carbon dioxide (dry ice) rather than water ice. This frost appears to cause surface activity, including flows in gullies.
Photo courtesy NASA
Yardangs in Arsinoes Chaos, Mars. This view of Martian surface features shaped by effects of winds was captured by the HiRISE camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on Jan. 4, 2015. The spacecraft has been orbiting Mars since March 2006. On Feb. 7, 2015, it completed its 40,000th orbit around Mars.
Photo courtesy NASA
Seasonal Flows in Mars’ Valles Marineris. Among the many discoveries by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter since the mission was launched on Aug. 12, 2005, are seasonal flows on some steep slopes.
Photo courtesy NASA
Fresh Crater Near Sirenum Fossae Region of Mars. The HiRISE camera aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter acquired this closeup image of a “fresh” (on a geological scale, though quite old on a human scale) impact crater in the Sirenum Fossae region of Mars on March 30, 2015. This impact crater appears relatively recent as it has a sharp rim and well-preserved ejecta.
Photo courtesy NASA
Layers and Dark Dunes on the Surface of Mars. This image of a circular depression on the surface of Mars was acquired on Jan. 5, 2015 by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO).
Photo courtesy NASA

Exploration, NASA and Space

NASA’s Mars orbiter captures stunning images of planet's surface