Mars Orbiter sends its first colour picture
Scientists have processed more than a dozen new photos taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which arrived at the Red Planet last month, including its first colour image.india Updated: Apr 11, 2006 10:57 IST
Scientists have processed more than a dozen new photos taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which arrived at the Red Planet last month, including its first colour image.
The crisp test images released on Friday revealed pocked craters, carved gullies and wind-formed dunes in Mars' southern hemisphere. The diverse geologic features show the importance of water, wind and meteor impacts in shaping the Martian surface, scientists said.
The orbiter, the most advanced spacecraft ever sent to another planet, reached Mars on March 10 and slipped into an elliptical orbit. Over the next six months, it will dip into the upper atmosphere to shrink its orbit, lowering itself to 158 miles above the surface.
The first colour image is not the natural colour of the planet if observed by human eyes, but infrared colour, shifted to longer wavelengths. The image has been processed to enhance subtle colour variations. Although, HiRISE images taken last month will be the camera's only photos for the next six months.