The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has photographed strange and mysterious surface features in a series of Martian Craters.
The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has been exploring the surface of the red planet since it entered orbit around Mars in March of 2006. The Mars reconnaissance orbiter is tasked with studying geology. However, it also plays an important role in studying the climate of Mars and provide “reconnaissance” for landing sites for future missions to Mars. Along the Way, the orbiter photographs the surface of the red planet. It offers curious and strange features on the surface from time to time.
The MRO mission has already greatly surpassed its intended design life. It plays a crucial role as a high-speed data relay for ground missions. The mission has been an enormous success, and NASA plans to use the spacecraft to study Mars through the late 2020s. One of the orbiter’s most useful tools is the High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment, also known as HiRISE. It is a 0.5-meter camera that is a reflecting telescope. It is the largest of its kind carried on a deep space mission.
A colorful Mars
On October 23, 2022, the MRO flew above the northern plains of Arabia Terra. Its HiRISE camera was pointed to a set of curious surface features. The craters the orbiter imaged contain strange and interesting deposits with mysterious shapes and a very peculiar distribution. When looking at the photograph, we notice how the deposits are located on the southern side of the craters, but strangely not on the other side. Furthermore, these curious distributions are found only in larger craters with six hundred meters or more in diameter. While the curious shapes, features, and distributions remain a mystery, scientists assume that these features are created by the process of sublimation of ice-rich material.