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viernes, 3 de septiembre de 2010

Exotic New Mars Images From Orbiting Telephoto Studio

A new batch of sharp Martian close-ups from NASA's HiRISE camera were released on Sept. 1. HiRISE (High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) has been circling Mars on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter for four years now, taking dramatic photos of the red planet with a telephoto lens to make any paparazzi jealous. The camera can focus on objects the size of a beach ball from more than 180 miles away.

The 236 new images, taken between July 8 and July 31, cover the planet practically from pole to pole. They zoom in on terrain ranging from volcanic cones to cratered planes, from wind-swept dunes to crusts of ice. The images even capture evidence of ongoing geological processes on Mars today, like fresh craters that may have formed between January and June of this year.

These are some of our favorites from the new set. But since January, the HiRISE team has been letting the public point the camera. You can suggest new terrain to explore using their "HiWish" feature.

These volcanic cones were formed by hot lava running over water or ice. The heat from the lava boiled the water underneath, and the water burst upwards in an exploding bubble of lava. The explosion threw chunks of molten and solid lava into the air to gather into the cones. These cones are similar in size and shape to cones found in Iceland.

Image: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

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