A striking new picture of Mars Odyssey is a stark contrast to the rust-colored, rough landscape, which is synonymous with the red planet. Released last week by NASA, the False color composite– It’s a patchwork captured between December 2002 and November 2004 – revealing long dunes that surround the relatively small planet’s northern polar cap. Warmer areas touched by the sun radiate golden, while the cooler parts are tinted blue. The picture just frames the dunes carved into a 30 km stretch of land, although the undulating pattern covers an area the size of Texas.
NASA released the infrared image as part of a collection This marks the 20th year of service for the Orbiter, which currently holds the record as the longest-running spaceship in history since its launch on April 7, 2001 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. It was recorded by the Odysseys Thermal emissions imaging system, a tool that is instrumental in determining the mineral composition of the planet’s surface by documenting temperature changes over the course of the day. Since exploration began two decades ago, the system has sent more than a million images of the Martian landscape back to Earth.
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