I’m kicking off a new series of posts that lets me collect amazing/beautiful/stunning astronomical images on particular themes into blog posts. Basically – blog posts full of eye candy. With perhaps just a little bit of science occasionally thrown in too.
That’s amazing! With all these phenomenal images I sometimes feel like I’ve been there.
It inspired me to start this series of posts and to pick Mars as the first subject (thanks Peter! And thanks for the title of this series!).
The high quality images of Mars are arriving from a number of sources. The incredibly successful NASA rovers Opportunity and Spirit have sent back amazing images from the surface. The two rovers lasted far longer than the initial target of a 90-day mission – Opportunity is still going (2958 days and counting). Spirit sadly “died” on 2010 (it sent its last communication March 22 2010). Amazing images from orbit have been captured by spacecraft such as NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Mars Global Surveyor, and ESA’s Mars Express.
This is the image that always astounds me into saying “That’s Mars, that is”. The detail is incredible.
Click the image for the full, huge panoramic 12200 × 1920 pixel version. The version below is cropped and does not show the entire crater.
Notice the cliff face is layered – it is clearly sandstone; it shows layers that have formed gradually, probably via wind-blown sand deposits.
Here is an image captured by Spirit rover. The image below doesn’t do the full vista justice. Click to view the 5628 x 1632 pixel image. The image was produced by James Canvin using freely available data. I highly recommend you visit his website for lots of Martian landscapes.
Another landscape image, but this time not taken by Spirit or Opportunity. This image was taken by Mars Pathfinder in 1998.
The image below is cropped and doesn’t do it justice. Click to view the 3619 x 1568 image – the detail on the rocks scattered around in the foreground is incredible.
A sunset…ON MARS! Spirit rover captured this sunset in May 2005 from Gusev crater. Click to view 2486 x 1914 version.
I like this this image as it shows vast quantities of frozen water ice on Mars. Yes, that’s a big patch of residual water ice in a crater that is about 35 km wide. The image was captured by ESA’s Mars Express. Click to view the 2250 x 1800 version.
Here is a stunning image of the globe. The huge canyon you can see is named Valles Marineris. It is over 3000 kilometres long and up to 600 kilometres wide, up to 8 kilometres deep. The image is a mosaic created from over 100 images of Mars taken by Viking Orbiters in the 1970s. Click for the 1552 x 1552 version.
A stunning panorama
Here is a very recently released image (July 2012). It is a full 360-degree panoramic image created from 800 images taken by Opportunity rover while it was stationary on the northern slope of Greeley Haven during the 4 month Martian winter. Colours have been exaggerated to show different surface features. You can see tracks made by Opportunity on the left. In the distance you can see an interior wall of Endeavour Crater. Click to see the 5000 x 1728 pixel image, or if you want the huge 23096 x 7981 go straight to the NASA catalog entry.
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