What appear to be ripples of blue sand shattering the Martian landscape make Mars look even more alien than usual.
However, the striking color scheme is not what it seems. To see true beauty, you have to look a little deeper than makeup.
Photographed earlier this year by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, the landscape was treated with so-called “false colors” to transform subtly different wavelengths of light into a spectacular palette that we can’t help but distinguish. .
This extension looks spectacular and pretty, and that’s true, but it wasn’t done just to make Mars a little more flashy. The contrast in features will be highlighted, giving planetary scientists a much better tool for understanding geological and atmospheric processes occurring well below the orbital altitude of the MRO.
The region imaged here by MRO is the Gamboa crater in the northern hemisphere of Mars. Imaged in stunning resolution, every pixel represents 25 centimeters (9.8 inches).
The tiniest ripples on many large hills are only a few feet apart from each other. At some point they join to form a small mound that radiates outward from the dune swell about 10 meters (30 feet) away.
Amidst rippling seas and large waves of sand, the distinctive pattern of these medium-sized structures is colored in a vibrant blue color, making them easy to spot.
Known as Transverse Aeolian Ridges (TARs), these medium-sized structures are composed of very coarse-grained sand. According to NASA, the large dunes and the TAR’s enhanced colors suggest an ongoing erosion process.
A NASA spokesperson wrote on the NASA website, “On one side of the enhanced color cutout, the megaripple appears turquoise, while on the other side the TAR appears brighter blue.”
“This may be due to the TAR being actively moved by the wind, clearing out dark dust and brightening it. All of these different features are due to the fact that when the wind formed Being able to study such diversity means that by approaching them, we can see their relationships, compare and contrast their characteristics, what they are composed of, and what they are. You can see how it was formed.”
Sometimes we need a little change in perception to learn something new and appreciate the wonders of the universe a little more.
The image above can be downloaded in high resolution from NASA’s website.