Mars definitely deserves its ‘Red Planet’ nickname, since it’s basically covered in reddish-brown rust.
But scientists use such a range of photographing techniques that the planet can end up a rainbow of colors.
NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter started circling the planet in 2006, and since then its camera has been busy capturing gorgeous — and scientifically valuable — images of Mars.
That camera, called HiRISE, takes images so detailed scientists can examine the planet’s features at the scale of just a few feet.
We combed through the camera’s latest update to find some of the most beautiful pictures. Scientists haven’t had a chance to dig their teeth into them yet — but when they do, who knows what incredible discoveries they’ll make.
A possible landing site for the ExoMars mission, which the European Space Agency is running.
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
A North Pole dune field nicknamed “Kolhar” after Frank Herbert’s fictional world.
Cerberus Palus crater showing off layered sediments.
Glacial terrain looks strangely iridescent.
A steep slope in Eastern Noctis Labyrinthus.
Dunes in a Martian crater. The red bar is an artifact of NASA’s image processing.
A possible landing site for the Mars 2020 mission NASA wants to launch in a few years.
The Tharsis region, which is the most volcanic part of Mars.
Terrain near the Martian equator.
Steep-sided craters on a Martian plain.