Feeds

Mars HiRISE images wow the crowd

New close-up pics of the Red Planet

Security for virtualized datacentres

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has delivered its first close-up snaps of the Martian surface, courtesy of the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE).

The images, taken during the Orbiter's first mapping orbit, include this fine view of an area of the planet's Valles Marineris canyon grabbed on 29 September from an altitude of 280km:

HiRISE image of Ius Chasma

The accompanying HiRISE information centre blurb explains that "this sub-image covers a small portion of the floor of Ius Chasma, one branch of the giant Valles Marineris system of canyons", centered on -7.8 degrees latitude, 279.5 degrees East longitude.

The picture (full-fat version available here) shows "bedrock exposures of layered materials, which could be sedimentary rocks deposited in water or from the air", plus "a few dunes" of windblown sand (bottom right).

HiRISE also recorded this nice image of the "north polar layered deposits" (Flash zoomable version available here):

Deposits at Mars's north pole

The bands seen here "may represent annual deposition of water ice and dust that is thought to form the polar layered deposits", which "are thought to record global climate variations on Mars, similar to ice ages on Earth". The bright spots, the boffins reckon, are probably patches of water frost.

HiRISE team member Nicolas Thomas of the University of Bern in Switzerland told New Scientist: "HiRISE's unprecedented resolution will allow the layers to be probed in finer detail than ever before in order to understand these climatic shifts."

The pics would, he added, give scientists something to ponder until they can physically drill into the Red Planet to probe its history. He noted: "The only way we can do this now is with remote sensing using a high-resolution camera."

Thomas also confirmed that HiRISE captured some colour images, which are still being processed. "From working on it, I can already tell you that it's going to be good," he promised. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
'Utter killjoy Reg hacks have NEVER BEEN LAID', writes a fan
'Shuddit, smarty pants!' Some readers reacted badly to our last Doctor Who review ...
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.