Technology

Nasa unveils FOUR Mars photos – can you spot the amazing secret they share?

NASA has released a compilation of Mars snapshots, all of which have the same function.

The patchwork, released last week, consists of four high-angle images taken from an orbiting spacecraft over the red planet.

These four images of Mars show morning frosts on the planet's surface

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These four images of Mars show morning frosts on the planet’s surfacePhoto credit: NASA

They all have one thing in common: each photo shows a glimpse of the morning frost on the frigid planet’s surface.

“The Martian surface frost, composed largely of carbon dioxide, appears bluish-white in these images,” NASA wrote May 5.

It added that the snaps were taken by the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) camera aboard the orbiter Odyssey.

Launched in 2001, Odyssey is NASA’s longest-lived Mars mission.

It acts as a communications relay for rovers and landers on Mars, including the Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity.

The spacecraft is also capable of taking pictures of Mars using THEMIS, a temperature-sensitive infrared camera.

“THEMIS captures images in both visible light, which is perceptible to the human eye, and heat-sensitive infrared,” Nasa said.

This can capture features that other orbiting cameras may miss, including ice deposits on the Martian surface.

“The Odyssey’s morning orbit provides spectacular images,” said Sylvain Piqueux of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California.

“We can see the long shadows of sunrise as they stretch across the surface.”

Most of the frost on Mars evaporates as the planet warms during the Martian sunrise.

The researchers suspect that the frost visible in THEMIS images is “mud frost” – dry ice frost mixed with fine dust grains.

This dust obscures it in visible light but not in infrared images.

Researchers discussed the find in a paper published last month in the Journal of Geophysical Research.

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https://www.thesun.ie/tech/8780773/nasa-four-mars-photos-spot-amazing-secret/ Nasa unveils FOUR Mars photos – can you spot the amazing secret they share?

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