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Russell crater dunes, June 28, 2016.
Russell crater dunes, June 28, 2016.NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
Russell crater dunes, June 28, 2016.
Dunes dubbed Kolhar, June 13, 2016.
Gully monitoring (infrared), June 12, 2016.
Dunes , June 29, 2016.
Dune field with bright fans, June 30, 2016.
Variety of spider features, June 28, 2016.
Gullies in dunes dubbed Buzzel, June 30, 2016.
Richardson Crater dune field, June 27, 2016.
Gully monitoring, June 30, 2016.
Slope monitoring in Aram Chaos, June 23, 2016.
Small tributary deposit and transverse aeolian ridges in Nirgal Vallis (infrared), July 4, 2016.
Sand dunes in southern mid-latitudes, June 18, 2016.
Spider terrain, July 2, 2016.
Sinus Meridiani dune monitoring (infrared), June 18, 2016.
Valley with flows in Noachis Terra (infrared), July 2, 2016.
Russell crater dunes, June 28, 2016.
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
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The Best New Images from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

Aug 15, 2016

August has been an extra productive month for the team working with NASA's HiRISE, the camera aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. While the orbiter has been releasing images regularly, on the 3rd, NASA released more than 1,000 images, an unusually large haul.

Recently, two factors combined to make this an especially good time to photograph the red planet. Firstly, "every 26 months, the geometry of Earth and Mars offer a sweet spot for data return," Alfred McEwen, the director of the Planetary Image Research Laboratory, told Popular Science. Secondly, July marked Mars' autumnal equinox, giving the orbiter the most complete, fully-lit views of the planet it will get for the rest of the year.

The HiRISE is the highest-resolution camera to be carried aboard an orbiter, allowing scientists to view the structures of Mars' surface in detail—objects as small as one meter in length can be distinguished. The camera operates in visible wavelengths, the same as human eyes, but can also capture near-infrared wavelengths to obtain information on the mineral groups present. The resulting images are false color images, not the color human eyes would see on Mars, but processed to reveal distinctions between different materials and textures on the surface.

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