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21 ноября 2018, 15:41

40 Incredible Images of the Surface of Mars


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For the first time in six years, a new mission will touch down in Mars — NASA’s Mars InSight lander will land on the Red Planet on November 26. The InSight will be the first outer space robotic explorer to study in-depth the “inner space” of Mars: its crust, mantle, and core.

But since 2006, the spacecraft Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has been conducting reconnaissance and exploration of Mars from orbit, capturing some of the most detailed, highest resolution images of the Martian surface with its HiRISE (High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) camera.

Here, we collect some of the most incredible images captured by the MRO mission (and some taken by the Mars Curiosity rover) — images that are as close as any of us are getting to the Red Planet any time soon.

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1. Aram Chaos

Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

Acquired on April 1, 2018, this image from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows Aram Chaos, a 280 kilometer-diameter ancient impact crater that lies within in the Southern Highlands of Mars. Uplifted blocks of light-toned layers, composed largely of the iron-oxide hematite and water-altered silicates, indicate that this crater once held a lake.

2. 'Spiders' on Ice Cap

Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

This image from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, acquired May 13, 2018 during winter at the South Pole of Mars, shows a carbon dioxide ice cap covering the region and as the sun returns in the spring, "spiders" begin to emerge from the landscape.

3. Mount Sharp

Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

This mosaic, taken by the Mars Curiosity rover, looks uphill at Mount Sharp. Spanning the center of the image is an area with clay-bearing rocks that scientists are eager to explore; it could shed additional light on the role of water in creating the landscape. The mosaic was assembled from dozens of images taken by Curiosity's Mast Camera (Mastcam). It was taken on Sol 1931 in January 2018.

Mount Sharp stands in the middle of Gale Crater, which is 96 miles (154 kilometers) in diameter. This mound, which Curiosity has been climbing since 2014, likely formed in the presence of water at various points of time in Mars' ancient history. That makes it an ideal place to study how water influenced the habitability of Mars billions of years ago.

4. Sand Dunes

Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

Sand dunes often accumulate in the floors of craters. In this region of Lyot Crater, NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) shows a field of classic barchan dunes on Jan. 24, 2018. Just to the south of the group of barchan dunes is one large dune with a more complex structure. This particular dune, appearing like turquoise blue in enhanced color, is made of finer material and/or has a different composition than the surrounding.

5. Dune Fields

Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

This image was acquired on January 2, 2014 by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Dune fields located among canyon wall slopes are also known as "wall dune fields.” On Earth and Mars, these types of dunes are largely controlled by what is called "microtopography." Physical obstacles can accelerate and decelerate airflow, create turbulence, potentially enhancing erosion, deposition, and/or transport of dune sediment.

6. Roddy Crater

Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

This image, acquired by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on Sept. 16, 2013, shows Roddy Crater on Mars, home to several large alluvial fans, which formed as water moved sediment from the mountainous crater rim and deposited it onto the flatter crater floor. Alluvial fans are found on Earth, Mars, and even Saturn's moon, Titan.

7. Ice Blocks

Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

One of the most actively changing areas on Mars are the steep edges of the North Polar layered deposits. This image from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) shows many new ice blocks compared to an earlier image in December 2006.

8. Icy Layers

Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

Mars' north polar layered deposits comprise a thick stack of icy layers. Part of this image from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has lingering seasonal frost, which serves to accentuate those layers.

9. Orange Dust

Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) observed sand dunes in the north polar regions of Mars showing light coatings of pale orange dust blown partially across the dark basaltic sand. Around the edges of the dunes, patches of seasonal dry ice remain. These patches will be gone soon as they sublimate (turn from ice to gas) in the summer sun. Some blocks of ice are visible at the foot of an alcove formed by a sand avalanche down the slipface of the dune.

10. Almost Free of Seasonal Ice

Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

In early Martian summer, at the time NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter acquired this image, the dunes are almost free of their seasonal ice cover. Only pockets of ice protected in the shade most of the day remain.

11. Hale Crater

Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

This image from MRO, NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, shows the Red Planet's Hale Crater, a large impact crater (more than 62 miles, or 100 kilometers, across) with a suite of interesting features such as active gullies, active recurring slope lineae (long markings that are dark or bright) and extensive icy ejecta flows. There are also exposed diverse (colorful) bedrock units.

12. Duluth

Photo Credit: NASA

This close-up image is of a 2-inch-deep hole produced using a new drilling technique for NASA's Curiosity rover. The hole is about 0.6 inches (1.6 centimeters) in diameter. This image was taken by Curiosity's Mast Camera (Mastcam) on Sol 2057. It has been white balanced and contrast-enhanced. Curiosity drilled this hole in a target called "Duluth" on May 20, 2018. It was the first rock sample captured by the drill since October 2016. A mechanical issue took the drill offline in December 2016.

13. Meridiani Planum

Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

NASA's Opportunity rover has spent 13 years exploring a small region of Meridiani Planum which has a rather ordinary appearance as seen by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO).

14. Chaos Terrain

Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

This image from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) shows chaos terrain on Mars' equator.

15. The Moving Sands of Lobo Vallis

Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows bright ripples line the topography in this region, formed within a past climate. Dark dunes and sand streaks (composed of basaltic sand) have moved and filled lower areas, pushed by more recent winds from the top towards the bottom of this image. Lobo Vallis is named for a river on the Ivory Coast.

16. Concentric Troughs

Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

This image from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is a close-up of a trough, along with channels draining into the depression. On the floor of the trough is some grooved material that we typically see in middle latitude regions where there has been glacial flow. These depressions with concentric troughs exist elsewhere on Mars, and their origins remain a matter of debate.

17. Straight Ridges

Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

In this observation from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), we see a set of straight ridges in ancient bedrock near Nirgal Valles. The patterns indicate fractures from tectonic stresses, but how have they been hardened to now stand in positive relief after billions of years of erosion? It is possible that groundwater flowed through the fractures, depositing various durable minerals, some of which we see in diverse colors.

18. Layers of a Pit

Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

This image from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) shows the western wall of a small pit that is located along the floor of a larger trough in Coprates Catena. Dark layers are exposed along the bottom of the pit wall while light-toned layers are near the top of the pit and the adjacent trough floor.

19. Alluvial Fans

Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

Shown in this image from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) are alluvial fans, fan-shaped deposits emerging from regions of steep topography. Alluvial fans on Mars are thought to be ancient and record past episodes of flowing water. This image shows part of one of those fans, which has been eroded.

20. Between the Sand Dunes

Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

This image was originally meant to track the movement of sand dunes near the North Pole of Mars, but what's on the ground in between the dunes is just as interesting! The ground has parallel dark and light stripes from upper left to lower right in this area. In the dark stripes, we see piles of boulders at regular intervals.

21. Tadpole-Like Impact Crater

Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

This image from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) shows an impact crater looking amusingly like a tadpole because of the valley that was carved by water that used to fill it.

22. Shalbatana Valles

Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

Layers, probably sedimentary in origin, have undergone extensive erosion in this image from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) of Shalbatana Valles, a prominent channel that cuts through Xanthe Terra. This erosion has produced several small mesas and exposed light-toned material that may differ in composition from the surrounding material.

23. Ladon Basin

Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

Ladon Basin was a large impact structure that was filled in by the deposits from Ladon Valles, a major ancient river on Mars as seen in this image from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). These wet sediments were altered into minerals such as various clay minerals. Clays imply chemistry that may have been favorable for life on ancient Mars, if anything lived there, so this could be a good spot for future exploration by rovers and perhaps return of samples to Earth.

24. Bright Flows

Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter observes many slopes in the middle latitudes of Mars showing icy flows or glaciers. The region shown here, in the south-facing slope of a crater, is unusual because the flows have bright highlights. The color and brightness variations are likely due to surface coatings of bright dust and dark sand. There is no evidence that these flows are currently active, but they may have been active only millions of years ago. These flows may well contain ice today in their interiors, as confirmed in places by the subsurface radar experiment on MRO.

25. Mawrth Vallis

Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

Mawrth Vallis is one of the regions on Mars that has attracted much attention because of the nature and diversity of the minerals identified by these spectrometers. It is a large, ancient outflow channel on the margin of the Southern highlands and Northern lowlands. Both the OMEGA and CRISM instruments have detected clay minerals here that must have been deposited in a water-rich environment, probably more than 4 billion years ago. For this reason, Mawrth Vallis is one of the two candidate landing sites for the future Mars Express Rover Mission planned by the European Space Agency.

26. Layering Within Sulfate Deposit

Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

In this image from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, layering within the light-toned sulfate deposit is the result of different states of hydration. Some of the layers have sulfates with little water (known as monohydrated sulfates) whereas other layers have higher amounts of water (called polyhydrated sulfates). The different amounts of water within the sulfates may reflect changes in the water chemistry during deposition of the sulfates, or may have occurred after the sulfates were laid down when heat or pressure forced the water out of some layers, causing a decrease in the hydration state.

27. Impact Crater With Bright Deposits

Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

In this image, NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) observes an impact crater with associated bright deposits that at first glance give the appearance of seasonal frost or ice accumulations. MRO has an onboard spectrometer called CRISM that can distinguish between ices and other minerals. Unfortunately, there is currently no coverage of this particular spot. However, it can be deduced through several lines of evidence that this is, in fact, not ice.

28. Swiss Cheese Terrain

Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

This observation from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter show it is late summer in the Southern hemisphere, so the Sun is low in the sky and subtle topography is accentuated in orbital images. We see many shallow pits in the bright residual cap of carbon dioxide ice (also called "Swiss cheese terrain"). There is also a deeper, circular formation that penetrates through the ice and dust. This might be an impact crater or it could be a collapse pit.

29. Three Merged Craters

Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

This image from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows an elongated depression from three merged craters. The raised rims and ejecta indicate that these are impact craters rather than collapse or volcanic landforms. The pattern made by the ejecta and the craters suggest this was a highly oblique (low angle to the surface) impact, probably coming from the west.

30. Her Desher Vallis

Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

This image from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows small ripples, about 10 meters apart, located in Her Desher Vallis. Her Desher is a small channel that shows evidence of phyllosilicates -- silicates with a sheet-like structure, such as clay minerals.

Much larger images of this area show that Her Desher Vallis appears isolated, with no obvious connections to craters or larger valleys. Her Desher, the ancient Egyptian name for Mars, translates to "the Red One."

31. Impact Crater

Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

This image from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows part of the central uplifted region of an impact crater more than 50 kilometers wide. That means that the bedrock has been raised from a depth of about 5 kilometers, exposing ancient materials.

The warm (yellowish-reddish) colors mark the presence of minerals altered by water, whereas the bluish and greenish rocks have escaped alteration. Sharp-crested ridges and smooth areas are young windblown materials.

32. Hargraves Crater

Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

The collision that created Hargraves Crater impacted into diverse bedrock lithologies of ancient Mars. As a result, the impact ejecta is a rich mix of rock types with different colors and textures, as seen by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). The crater is named after Robert Hargraves who discovered and studied meteorite impacts on the Earth.

33. Valles Marineris

Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

Recurring slope lineae (RSL) are seasonal flows on warm slopes, and are especially common in central and eastern Valles Marineris, as seen in this observation by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). This image covers a large area full of interesting features, but the enhanced color closeup highlight some of the RSL.

34. Gullies

Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

This image from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) shows the location with the most impressive known gully activity in Mars' northern hemisphere. Gullies are active in the winter due to carbon dioxide frost, but northern winters are shorter and warmer than southern winters, so there is less frost and less gully activity.

35. Noctis Labyrinthyus

Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

This image from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows a small (0.4 kilometer) mesa, one of several surrounded by sand dunes in Noctis Labyrinthyus, an extensively fractured region on the western end of Valles Marineris. Heavily eroded, with clusters of boulders and sand dunes on its surface, this layered mesa is probably comprised of sedimentary deposits that are being exhumed as it erodes. The layers themselves are visible as faint bands along the lower left edge of the mesa.

36. Melas Basin

Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

In this image from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, a group of steeply inclined light-toned layers is bounded above and below by unconformities (sudden or irregular changes from one deposit to another) that indicate a "break" where erosion of pre-existing layers was taking place at a higher rate than deposition of new materials. The layered deposits in Melas Basin may have been deposited during the growth of a delta complex. This depositional sequence likely represents a period where materials were being deposited on the floor of a lake or running river.

37. Three Filters

Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

This false-color image demonstrates how use of special filters available on the Curiosity Mars rover's Mast Camera (Mastcam) can reveal the presence of certain minerals in target rocks. The image is a composite of images taken through three filters chosen for making hematite, an iron-oxide mineral, stand out as exaggerated purple. The target rock, called "Christmas Cove," did not appear to contain much hematite. Curiosity's wire-bristled brush, the Dust Removal Tool, scrubbed the rock brushed area about is about 2.5 inches (6 centimeters) across. On Sept. 17, 2017, the mission's Sol 1819, observations led to the discovery of a strong hematite presence that had was subdued beneath the dust.

38. Hellas Planitia

Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

At around 2,200 kilometers in diameter, Hellas Planitia is the largest visible impact basin in the Solar System, and hosts the lowest elevations on Mars' surface as well as a variety of landscapes. This image from NASA's Mars Reconnaisance Orbiter (MRO) covers a small central portion of the basin and shows a dune field with lots of dust devil trails. In the middle, we see what appears to be long and straight "scratch marks" running down the southeast (bottom-right) facing dune slopes. If we look closer, we can see these scratch marks actually squiggle back and forth on their way down the dune. These scratch marks are linear gullies.

39. Northern Meridiani Planum

Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

This image from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) of northern Meridiani Planum shows faults that have disrupted layered deposits. Some of the faults produced a clean break along the layers, displacing and offsetting individual beds (yellow arrow).

40. Slope Streak

Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

This HiRISE image from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) captures a new, dated (within about a decade) impact crater that triggered a slope streak. When the meteoroid hit the surface and exploded to make the crater, it also destabilized the slope and initiated this avalanche. The crater itself is only 5 meters across, but the streak it started is 1 kilometer long! Slope streaks are created when dry dust avalanches leave behind dark swaths on dusty Martian hills. The faded scar of an old avalanche is also visible to the side of the new dark streak.

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Source: https://www.geek.com/science/40-incredible-images-of-the-surface-of-mars-1761406/?source=science