Photo Gallery: "The People's Camera" Snaps Pictures of Mars on Request

By Andrew Moseman | April 1, 2010 4:41 pm

Lobate Debris

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has been circling the red planet doing NASA’s work since 2006. Now, it’s finally following your direction. Using the HiWish page, Mars enthusiasts have been requesting sites for the HiRISE (High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) on board the orbiter to photograph. This week, NASA released the first batch of images from what it’s calling “the people’s camera.”

This image of an area, Deuteronilus Mensae, shows high mesas surrounded by buildups called lobate debris aprons. These are particularly interesting as they seem to contain nearly pure ice.

All images: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

  • http://N/A John R Anderson

    Why are a number of images so white? We are used to seeing Martian red. It looks like snow or ice but surely not. Is it just natural rock color?

  • Randy J Yarger

    White sand, mostly, but there is a great deal of water ice in the polar caps as well as seasonal frozen CO2 (dry ice).

    Southern New Mexico contains a large white sand desert, which I’d highly recommend to anyone who has never visited!

  • Dan Lemberg

    John, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter mostly “sees” only red. So many of the photos you are looking at monotone – white when Mars is very red and black when Mars is not red at all.

    The oribiter does have some limited capability to see other colors, but can’t distinguish very well between them. That limited capability is used to try to calculate color images when the need arises, as you see in some of the photos, but they are not very color accurate. Many times the choice of color is to make features more distinct, rather than to show what they would look like to the human eye.

    And actually, a good example of how false color images can throw people off are are lot of the early Mars photos – which were tinted too heavily red.

  • Bobby



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