Ofashley strickland, CNN
Posted at 1:54 p.m. m. EST, Monday, January 30, 2023
A bear's face appears to take shape on the Martian surface in this new image taken by the HiRISE camera aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Two craters create the eyes, a circular fracture shapes the face, and a collapsed V-shaped structure represents the nose.
The Curiosity rover discovered this rock, smaller than a penny, resembling a flower or a piece of coral inside Gale Crater on February 24. The small pieces in this photo were created billions of years ago when minerals carried by water cemented the rock.
NASA's Curiosity rover used two cameras to create this selfie in front of "Mont Mercou," a 20-foot-tall rock formation.
The Ingenuity helicopter captured this color image of Mars from 16 feet above the planet's surface in April 2021.the first color imagealready taken during the flight of a helicopter on Mars.
This July 9, 2013 view of the Valles Marineris hemisphere of Mars is actually a mosaic made up of 102 Viking Orbiter images. In the center is the Valles Marineris canyon system, more than 2,000 kilometers long and up to 8 kilometers deep.
This 2016 self-portrait of the Curiosity Mars rover shows the rover at the Quela drill site in the Murray Buttes area at the foot of Mount Sharp.
This photo of a preserved river channel on Mars was taken by an orbiting satellite, with colors overlaid to show different elevations. Blue is low and yellow is high.
The European Space Agency's Mars Express mission captured this 2018 image of the Korolev crater, more than 50 miles in diameter and filled with water ice, near the north pole.
The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter used its HiRISE camera to take this view of an unusually textured area on the southern floor of Gale Crater.
The cooled lava helped preserve an imprint of where dunes moved in a southeastern region of Mars. But it also looks like the symbol from "Star Trek."
Although Mars is not geologically active like Earth, the surface features have been strongly shaped by the wind. Wind-sculpted features like these, called yardangs, are common on the red planet. On the sand, the wind forms waves and small dunes. In the thin atmosphere of Mars, light is not scattered much, so the shadows cast by yardangs are sharp and dark.
These small hematite-rich concretions are found near Fram Crater, visited by NASA's Opportunity rover in April 2004. The area shown is 1.2 inches in diameter. The view comes from the microscope imager on Opportunity's robotic arm, with color information added from the rover's panoramic camera. These minerals suggest that Mars had a watery past.
This image shows seasonal flows in Valles Marineris on Mars, which are called recurring slope lines, or RSLs. These Martian landslides appear on the slopes during spring and summer.
Mars is known to have dust storms around the planet. These 2001 images from NASA's Mars Global Surveyor orbiter show a dramatic change in the planet's appearance as haze kicked up by southern dust storm activity became globally distributed.
This composite image, showing the upper reaches of Mount Sharp, was taken in September 2015 by NASA's Curiosity rover. In the foreground is a long crest filled with hematite. Directly ahead is an undulating plain rich in clay minerals. And just beyond are a myriad of rounded hills, all rich in sulfate minerals. The changing mineralogy in these layers suggests a changing environment on early Mars, although they all imply exposure to water billions of years ago.
InSight's seismometer recorded a "marsquake" for the first time in April 2019.
From atop a ridge, Opportunity captured this 2016 image of a swirling Martian dust devil in the valley below. The view shows the rover's tracks climbing up the north-facing slope of Knudsen Ridge, which forms part of the southern edge of the Marathon Valley.
HiRISE captured layered deposits and a bright ice cap at the Martian North Pole.
Nili Patera is a region of Mars where dunes and ripples move rapidly. HiRISE, aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, continues to monitor this area every two months for changes on the annual and seasonal time scales.
NASA's Curiosity rover captured its highest-resolution panorama of the Martian surface in late 2019. This includes more than 1,000 images and 1.8 billion pixels.
This image, which combines data from two instruments aboard NASA's Mars Global Surveyor, shows an orbital view of the north polar region of Mars. The ice-rich polar cap is 621 miles wide, and the dark bands are deep valleys. To the right of center, a large gorge, Chasma Boreale, nearly bisects the ice sheet. Chasma Boreale is about the length of the famous Grand Canyon in the United States and up to 1.9 km deep.
A spectacular fresh impact crater dominates this image taken by the HiRISE camera in November 2013. The crater spans approximately 30 meters and is surrounded by a large lightning blast zone. Because the ground where the crater formed is dusty, the fresh crater appears blue in the enhanced color of the image, due to the removal of reddish dust in that area.
This dark mound, called Ireson Hill, lies in the Murray Formation at the bottom of Mount Sharp, near a location where NASA's Curiosity rover surveyed a linear sand dune in February 2017.
Are these cookies and cream on Mars? No, they're just polar dunes dotted with ice and sand.
The cloud in the center of this image is actually a tower of dust that occurred in 2010 and was captured by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Blue and white clouds are water vapor.
HiRISE took this image of a kilometer-long crater in the southern hemisphere of Mars in June 2014. The crater shows ice on all of its south-facing flanks in late winter, as Mars approaches spring.
The two largest earthquakes detected by NASA InSight appear to have originated in a region of Mars called the Cerberus Fossae. Scientists have already detected signs of tectonic activity here, including landslides. This image was taken by the HiRISE camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaisance Orbiter.
This image is the first photograph ever taken of the surface of Mars. It was taken on July 20, 1976 by the Viking 1 lander, shortly after landing on the planet.
The best photos of Mars
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When a NASA orbiter focused its camera on the Martian surface, a bear's face appeared to be looking back.
A camera aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, called the High Resolution Imaging Experiment, or HiRISE, captured an image of the unusual geological feature in December.
A circular fracture pattern on the Martian surface shapes the head, while two craters resemble eyes. A V-shaped collapse structure creates the illusion of a bear's nose.
The circular fracture could be due to the settlement of a deposit on top of a buried impact crater that was filled with lava or mud. The nose-shaped feature is possibly a volcanic vent or mud vent.
The University of Arizona, which developed the camera with Ball Aerospace,shared the imageon January 25.
The photo is reminiscent of another celestial "face" glimpsed by a NASA space observatory in October 2022, whenthe sun seemed to smiledue to dark spots called coronal holes.
And last March, the Curiosity rover detecteda rock formation that resembled a flowerIn mars
The HiRISE camera has been taking images of Mars since 2006, when the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter began orbiting the red planet. The powerful camera is designed to capture detailed images of the Martian surface, including features as small as 3 feet (1 meter).
The orbiter circles Mars every 112 minutes, flying from about 160 miles (255 kilometers) above the South Pole to 200 miles (320 kilometers) above the North Pole.
The spacecraft and its suite of instruments help NASA scientists study the Martian atmosphere, weather and climate, and how they change over time. The orbiter looks for evidence of water, ice and complex terrain and explores future landing sites for other missions.
More recently, the orbiter returnedStunning images of winter on Mars.