Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

The weirdest things recently found on Mars

What's up with the strange colors of these dunes? Mars isn't really blue and gold, it's just that this picture was taken in infrared wavelengths to better show the composition of the sand here. But these dunes, known as "<a href='http://hirise.lpl.arizona.edu/ESP_033272_1400' target='_blank'>barchans</a>," would look striking in any light: they often form cool horns or notches on their steep leeward sides. What's up with the strange colors of these dunes? Mars isn't really blue and gold, it's just that this picture was taken in infrared wavelengths to better show the composition of the sand here. But these dunes, known as "barchans," would look striking in any light: they often form cool horns or notches on their steep leeward sides.
HIDE CAPTION
The weirdest things recently found on Mars
The weirdest things recently found on Mars
The weirdest things recently found on Mars
The weirdest things recently found on Mars
The weirdest things recently found on Mars
The weirdest things recently found on Mars
The weirdest things recently found on Mars
The weirdest things recently found on Mars
The weirdest things recently found on Mars
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Mars reconnaissance Orbiter continues to send new images to earth
  • Pictures highlight unusual topography
  • Images use 'false color' to highlight important features

(Wired) -- Mars is a crazy place. In recent years we've discovered some of the strangest things on the Red Planet: ice spiders, Swiss cheese terrain, and perfectly spiral-shaped lava tubes.

And the more we explore our near planetary neighbor, the weirder the things we find get. NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has been circling Mars since 2006, provides the clearest and highest-resolution images of the planet's surface. Looking through the image archive of its HiRISE camera, which can resolve things about a meter wide on the ground, reveals a vast supply of strange and wonderful things.

Here we share some of the orbiter's most recent weird sightings from the last few months. The images provide incredible scientific insights into Mars. But, perhaps just as important, they are beautiful, fascinating, and reflective of the alien world that sits not too far from our own.

Just a note on the colors in these images: HiRISE has cameras that see in slightly different wavelengths than our own eyes. Many of the photos it produces are in "false color," meaning the different wavelengths have been assigned colors for purposes of clarity or to highlight an important feature. There are no actual turquoise dunes on Mars. But the false color pictures do allow scientists to differentiate various textures and materials on Mars.

Water discovered in Martian soil

Evidence of supervolcanoes on Mars

Subscribe to WIRED magazine for less than $1 an issue and get a FREE GIFT! Click here!

Copyright 2011 Wired.com.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 6:52 AM EDT, Wed March 26, 2014
Prototype of Identilock biometric system, developed by Detroit start-up Sentinl
Biometric technology is being used to create guns that identify a user from their fingerprints and from their grip.
updated 4:18 PM EDT, Fri March 14, 2014
Tim Berners-Lee, the man credited with inventing the world wide web, gives a speech on April 18, 2012 in Lyon, central France, during the World Wide Web 2012 international conference on April 18, 2012 in Lyon.
As the World Wide Web turns 25, its creator talks about spying, censorship and freedom.
europe close submarine cable map 2014
This incredible map reveals the sprawling network of the underwater Internet.
updated 2:02 PM EST, Wed February 19, 2014
Cassiopeia A was a star more than eight times the mass of our sun before it exploded in the cataclysmic, fiery death astronomers call a supernova.
updated 10:50 AM EST, Thu February 13, 2014
U.S. scientists say they've produced more energy from a fusion reaction in their fuel source than they put into the fuel, a research milestone.
updated 6:33 PM EST, Thu February 13, 2014
Robots that behave like termites could be useful for construction projects that would be too dangerous for humans.
updated 2:02 PM EST, Thu February 13, 2014
Researchers used DNA to track historical mixings of populations during more than 4,000 years in a new study.
updated 11:58 AM EST, Fri January 24, 2014
A lively community of startups, hobbyists and photographers have embraced DIY drone technology.
updated 9:26 AM EST, Tue November 5, 2013
Massive new atom smasher goes in search of the secrets of the Universe
updated 10:02 AM EDT, Thu October 17, 2013
Barchan dunes
In recent years we've discovered some of the strangest things on the Red Planet like ice spiders and spiral-shaped lava tubes.
updated 6:47 AM EDT, Thu October 3, 2013
Nanotechnology
It is an age-old question: will humankind ever defeat old age?
ADVERTISEMENT