The location is reddish not only in the photos, but also in person. This is because the planet appears to have iron oxide all over its surface, the result of atmospheric components interacting with iron throughout eons.
Seeing the same color over and over again gets boring after a while, and people, especially those who work on Mars photos, get bored of it. That’s why every now and then one of the key pieces of photographic equipment we have on site, the HiRISE camera, brings up something unexpected.
Using the camera’s filters, scientists are able to change the color of the Martian surface, an action that is not necessarily driven by boredom, but by the need to better see the features of the planet.
The bluish image we have here was captured by HiRISE in 2016, at an altitude of 283 km (176 miles). It shows a small part of the Nili Fossae, a series of concentric grabens (depressed blocks of the planet’s crust) in the Syrtis Major quadrilateral.
The image helped geologists understand that this particular canyon was not eaten away on Mars by water erosion, but was the result of a fault.
Because this is an area showing layered bedrock, geologists have depicted it in light shades of blue, to better reveal the horizontal streaks in the bottom sediments of this particular canyon. Above them are “much younger ripples composed of dust and other wind-blown sediment,” fractured rocks on the canyon walls, and boulder-strewn ground.
Once it was shaped to hold water, the life-giving substance probably made its way here too, long ago in the planet’s past. This was inferred through the detection of clay minerals that form in the presence of water.
Staining the Martian surface with material in this particular region also helps us better understand how the Martian environment has changed over the eons.
Because of the abundance of things it can teach us, NASA and the University of Arizona, who run the HiRISE, say this particular location is a strong candidate for a future robotic mission “that could traverse these layers and make measurements that could be used”. unravel some of the early history of Mars.
Summary of news:
- Here’s a dynamic potential landing site on Mars that isn’t red
- Check out all the news and articles from the latest space news updates.