Mars Picture of the Day (02/23/2022): The desert of the North Pole

Deepak Gupta February 23, 2022
Updated 2022/02/23 at 9:19 AM

Mars is considered the most Earth-like planet. Although it measures only a third of the mass of the earth, it is still considered a potential candidate for humanity. It is forbidding and barren, its atmosphere deadly, and yet we look for signs of life on it. And so vehicles are already striding across the rusty surface and making them Mars images, which can be seen here. Above all, they show that the distant world has more in common with ours than previously thought.

Mars Picture of the Day (02/23/2022): Dry ice and dust

NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) captured this image over the north polar region of Mars. She shows how orange dust blows over the darker basalt. Seasonal dry ice edges form at the base of the dunes, which can be seen as white lines in the image.

This frozen carbon dioxide occurs mainly in the polar regions in the winter months and does not simply melt. When the temperatures on Mars rise again, the dry ice changes directly into the gaseous state of aggregation. Therefore, this ice cannot be taken as a guarantee that water would be present on the surface of the red planet.

Mars Picture of the Day (02/22/2022): A hill in the Jezero crater

February 22, 2022: The Mars rover Perseverance roams the Jezero crater. © NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS

The Mars rover “Perseverance” has been on the move on the surface of Mars for a year. In the 48 km wide Jezero crater, NASA’s newest vehicle is looking for traces of former life. Daby roams “Perseverance” through an inhospitable area full of sterols and rubble.

But this is exactly where the rover should come closest to its task: the search for microbacterial life. Perseverance also analyzes the planet’s geology and is the first device of its kind to collect and store rock samples such as regolith (crushed Martian rock and dust). The rover will also collect weather data that will provide a better understanding of how the planet’s climate has changed historically.

Also interesting: Unexpected development on Mars

Thus, NASA wants to pave the way for a manned Mars mission with the help of “Perseverance”. Today’s Mars Picture of the Day shows how the first humans will experience the planet. This image has not received any subsequent digital image processing either and shows the color spectra that astronauts will perceive on the surface of Mars.

Mars Picture of the Day (02/21/2022): Martian dunes

Sand dunes on Mars
2022-02-21: The Mars rover Curiosity captured this image of sand dunes on the red planet. © NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

The sand dunes on Mars form differently than on Earth. What earth and Martian dunes have in common, however, is that they can migrate. And so a geological feature is shown on the red planet that seems quite earthly to us. So far, Mars is the only planet in our solar system known to science to have sand dunes.

And yet there is something magical about the sight of such structures. They are almost black and very different. The dark ridges of the dunes are several meters apart. However, the interesting feature is the small waves on the dunes. They run in the opposite direction to the ridge and are not found on Earth.

Also interesting: Discovery of a special formation that even amazed NASA researchers

But the picture is edited. Like many other shots, Curiosity’s snap is white balanced. This means that it looks like it does under daylight conditions here on Earth. Such a method is always used when scientists want to take a closer look at the soil conditions. Because every little feature on the surface can change our understanding of Mars.

Mars Picture of the Day (02/19/2022): Opportunity’s path through the desert

Image taken from the surface of Mars
February 19, 2022: In the summer of 2014, the Mars rover Opportunity took this image of Mars. © NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell Univ./Arizona State Univ.

In 2004, another human scout landed on Mars with the Mars rover Opportunity. The rover operated until 2018, sending data from the region around Endeavor Crater, which also marked the end of its journey. Through the rover’s lens, scientists were able to see signs of formerly open standing water for the first time.

Also interesting: That’s why there is no life on Mars

Opportunity’s image shows the outer western rim of Endeavor Crater, which the rover reached in 2012 and studied until it was shut down in 2018. The tracks left by its wheels on the dusty surface are clearly visible. The sky is orange. The recording roughly shows the real viewing conditions on the red planet.

Mars Picture of the Day (02/18/2022): Selfie of the Mars rover Curiosity

Mars Rover Curiosity
02/18/2022: Curiosity sends a selfie from Gale Crater. © NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

On the 2533rd Sol, or Mars Day, of its mission, the Mars rover Curiosity sent a selfie back to Earth. It doesn’t seem to be a comfortable day on the red planet, as there’s a puff of dust behind Curiosity’s back. The fine red dust on the rover’s surface is also clearly visible. On Mars, the dust is electrostatically charged and de facto sticks everywhere. The electronics of the rover must therefore be well protected.

Also interesting: Mars rover makes “fascinating” discovery

The rover has been on Mars in the service of mankind since 2012. He roams through the 154-kilometer-wide Gale crater and takes samples. The edge of this crater can be seen as a mountain range in the background of the image. So far, the Curiosity has traveled more than 26 kilometers.

On the ground to the left of the rover are the two test drilling holes. As small as these are, the scientists from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, insisted on naming these landmarks. They are named Glen Etive 2 and Glen Etive 1 from left to right.

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology (CALTECH) is the command and control center for NASA’s probes and satellites.

Mars picture of the day (02/17/2022): polar ice caps and sandstorms

Mars image
2022-02-17: Hubble’s image shows the complexity of the red planet. © NASA, ESA, and STScI

Whether from afar from the Hubble space telescope or very close by from the Mars rover Curiosity: images of Mars abound and interest in our red neighbor is growing so much that many countries are already planning manned missions there.

The images of Mars by NASA, ESA and Co. show that the red planet is more than just a barren place. They show dust storms, the icy polar caps and sand dunes in the middle of huge craters.

The photo shows this complexity particularly well. Our closest neighbor keeps coming very close to the earth cyclically. Then the Hubble Space Telescope can snap the best portraits of the planet, as is done in this image

Also interesting: This is the distance between Earth and Mars

Hubble captured this image 13 days before Mars was closest to our planet in 2018. It doesn’t show a “red planet”, but a world with ice and storms, a dynamic world with its own laws. Exploring it will probably be mankind’s greatest adventure.

Pictures from Mars: New pages of the red planet every day

People like Elon Musk see the future of our species on Mars. The images of the planet provided by NASA tell us anew every day why Mars of all things is suitable for this purpose.

Sources: NASA, ESA

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