October 1, 2014 12:13 PM EDT India’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), which began orbiting the Red Planet on Sept. 23, has already sent back a stunning new portrait of Mars. The image taken Sept. 28 shows the beginnings of a dust storm on the surface of the planet and was taken by the Mars Color Camera aboard the spacecraft. The Mars Orbiter will be collecting images and other data from the planet’s surface and atmosphere using five sensors, four of which have already been switched on.
This data will be shared with NASA, according to
an agreement signed on Sept. 30 between the two agencies to collaborate on Mars exploration. NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft entered Mars’s orbit just two days ahead of MOM, and will be able to receive data from Opportunity and Curiosity rovers on the planet’s surface. PHOTOS: The Most Beautiful Panoramas and Mosaics From Opportunity’s Decade on Mars Rover tracks disappear toward the horizon like the wake of a ship across the desolate sea of sand between the craters Endurance and Victoria on the Meridiani Plains. NASA— JPL-Caltech / Cornell University The Mars Rover Spirit took this sublime view of a sunset over the rim of Gusev Crater, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) away. NASA—JPL-Caltech / Texas A&M / Cornell A false-color image of Endurance Crater. In this image, tendrils of sand less than 3.3 ft (1 m) high extend from the main dune field toward the rover. Dunes are a common feature across the surface of Mars. Before the rover headed down to the dunes, mission managers first established whether the slippery slope that led to them was firm enough to ensure a successful drive back out of the crater. Otherwise, the dune field would become a sand trap. NASA—JPL-Caltech / Cornell University Tiny spherules, photographed by Opportunity, pepper a sandy surface in this 1.2-in (3 cm) square view of the Martian soil. Nicknamed "blueberries" by mission scientists, the little pellets are actually hematites, an iron oxide typically formed in standing water—of which Mars once had plenty. NASA—JPL-Caltech / Cornell / USGS / Cathy Weitz Spirit obtained this view of the area called Home Plate while parked atop a formation called Husband Hill. The colors emphasize differences in rock weathering. A large dust devil appears as the V-shaped discoloration in the sky at the top right. NASA—JPL-Caltech / Cornell University The Opportunity rover used its panoramic camera to record the East Rim of Endeavor Crater, on October 31, 2010. The view is presented in false color to make differences in surface materials more visible. A portion of Endeavour Crater's eastern rim, nearly 19 miles (30 km) distant, is visible. NASA—JPL-Caltech / Cornell NASA's Spirit rover acquired this false-color image after using its abrasion tool to brush the surfaces of rock targets informally named "Stars" (left) and "Crawfords" (right). Small streaks of dust extend for several centimeters behind the chips and pebbles in the dusty soil. NASA—JPL-Caltech / USGS / Cornell University Rover tracks disappear toward the horizon like the wake of a ship between the craters Endurance and Victoria on the Meridiani Plains. Opportunity took the image while stuck in the sand ripple dubbed Purgatory for over a month. This panorama (only partly shown here) was named Rub Al Khali after the “Empty Quarter” in the Arabian Desert. NASA—JPL-Caltech / Cornell University More Must-Reads From TIME Inside the White House Program to Share America's Secrets Meet the 2024 Women of the Year East Palestine, One Year After Train Derailment The Closers: 18 People Working to End the Racial Wealth Gap Long COVID Doesn’t Always Look Like You Think It Does Column: The New Antisemitism The 13 Best New Books to Read in March Want Weekly Recs on What to Watch, Read, and More? Sign Up for Worth Your Time