And you can see them here!
NASA has released more than 1,000 High-resolution images captured by its Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), which has been orbiting the Red Planet since 2006. The images reveal the Martian surface in all its glory, showing some of the Martian mountains containing ice caps and giant dunes.
Image Credit: Dune Forms in Viking 1, NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
The breathtaking shots of the Martian Surface were taken by the HiRise (High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) camera, which is onboard the MRO craft orbiting Mars. The images were snapped during May 2016, when Mars experienced its equinox — a period when the planet’s equator passes through the center of the sun, causing both poles on the planet to be lit up with light.
During the same time, Mars experienced its opposition, a period where the planet is found on the other side of the Earth’s sky with the Sun, allowing for “unobstructed communication” between Mars and Earth for a couple of weeks, according to Popular Science.
This allowed for a large amount images from HiRise to be beamed back to Earth!
Astronomers studying the collection of images will use the data to find a suitable landing spot for NASA’s Insight spacecraft, which is due to travel to the Red Planet on an exploration mission to understand the processes that shaped the formation of rocky planets of the inner solar system. The Insight Mission is scheduled for Launch in May 2018.
You can watch the entire image collection by HiRise here.
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