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Two more reasons why I love HiRISE…

For those readers who don’t know, “HiRISE” is the amazing camera onboard NASA’s Mars Reconaissance Orbiter spacecraft that takes the most spectacularly detailed images of the Red Planet ever seen. Every week a new batch of images taken by HiRISE is released, then frustrated, homesick martians like me spend an hour or so browsing them, zooming in ledges and outcrops, crater rims and mountain peaks, and even on individual rocks, HiRISE is so powerful. Call it what you want – “The People’s Camera”, or “The Mars Spy Satellite”, but the basic truth is HiRISE is an amazing piece of kit that lets us zoom in on things just a metre or so across.

Every week’s new set of pictures is gorgeous, but this week HiRISE sent back a couple of absolute killer images…

(click on the image for a larger version)

Yes, that’s another martian avalanche caught in the act! We’ve seen these before, but I think this one is particularly impressive, because, judging by the short distance between the foot of the cliff and the dust cloud, it looks like HiRISE caught it just moments after it happened…

As if that wasn’t impressive enough, HiRISE also snapped a new image of the rover Spirit, trapped in its dust bowl prison just beside Homeplate. I had a play about with it, changing the colour to make it look more, well, martian, and this came out the other end.

(again, please click on that image for a larger version)

If you’re not sure which of those specks is Spirit, here’s a zoomed in version…

As my friend from UMSF, Dan, said, “Spirit looks like a fly stuck to a pane of glass…” 🙂

Another good friend of mine, Nancy Atkinson (no relation) plugged my image on Universe Today, and views of it shot through the roof, so thanks Nancy!

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2 Responses

  1. I’m loving that first picture 🙂

    I can’t help but be drawn to the semi-circular ledge on the left of the image though. Is there an explanation as to what forms a feature like that?

  2. Action shots from another planet! Amazing stuff! Thanks Stu! You have fans around the Earth (and who knows, possibly around the universe!).

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