NASA’s Perseverance Rover is still getting all the attention, along with the Ingenuity helicopter which is about to fly on the Red Planet. But the Space Agency’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has also continued to operate quietly, leaving behind incredible imagery captured from above Martin’s surface.
For example, the amazing photo below shows the frosty sand dunes of Mars, its stunning beauty earned it NASA Image of the day For Thursday 25 March.
“An area of sand dunes occupies this frosty 5-kilometer diameter pit in the high latitudes of Mars’ northern plains,” the space agency said in the accompanying image.
“The surface of the main dune area is characterized by a series of dark-toned polygon patterns,” it adds. “These can be the result of seasonal frost processes. Many of the stuner dune slopes, pointing in the direction of the fall, host narrow lanes suggesting the beginning of gulling. “
NASA says that the crater floor in the image reveals a wide variety of textures, “including lobate and striped patterns that indicate seasonal melting as the ice burns.”
The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured the image with its High Resolution Imaging Experiment (HiRISE) camera from an altitude of 196 mi (315 km) last month.
NASA’s orbiter, which picks up six instruments capable of studying every level of Mars, from underground layers to the top of the atmosphere, came to the red planet in 2006. The spacecraft seems to be operating well above initial expectations, with NASA aiming to run it so far, possibly beyond the end of this decade.
The satellite has also sent back some fascinating images showing NASA’s Perseverance Rover, which reached Mars in February 2021. It managed to capture the landing phase of the firmament as it parachuted towards the surface of Mars. Another image, a short time later, shows the rover as a small dot on the desolate Martian surface.