Scientists shocked by astonishing Mars photos

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Scientists shocked by astonishing Mars photos

Bizarre new images from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter show just how alien of a planet Mars really is.

Extraordinary new images by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter of some strange formations on the Red Planet is making the rounds on the Internet. The MRO used its Context Camera to take rather mind-blowing images, one of which is seen above, of a close-up of a trough with some channels leading to a depression.

Another image appears to show weird ripples lining one part of the Martian topography. It appears unlike anything you might see on Earth and certainly makes the Red Planet appear quite alien. MRO’s Context Camera allows the spacecraft to take measurements of the ground below and lead to a greater understanding of this mysterious neighbor.

The MRO has been in orbit around Mars since March 2006, and is one of multiple Martian missions to explore our possibly habitable neighbor in advance of a human mission to Mars in the next couple decades.

“Gullies on Martian sand dunes, like these in Matara Crater, have been very active, with many flows in the last ten years. The flows typically occur when seasonal frost is present,” the NASA statement reads. “In this image from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter we see frost in and around two gullies, which have both been active before. (View this observation to see what these gullies looked like in 2010.) There are no fresh flows so far this year, but HiRISE will keep watching.”

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