The European Space Agency’s (ESA) ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter, which launched in 2016, just sent back some spectacular images of the Martian surface.
The orbiter is equipped to take images of the Martian surface in glorious 3D.
The picture above might look like some kind of hairy structure, but it’s actually a false-colour image of the trails of hundreds or even thousands of dust devils – small Martian tornadoes – in the Terra Sabaea region of Mars.
The image below shows the Columbus Crater on Mars’ southern hemisphere — which NASA discovered that sulfate particles contain hydrated minerals.
Another amazing shot: a pic of NASA’s InSight lander hammering away at the Martian surface earlier this month. It’s the first time a European orbiter has taken a picture of InSight — though NASA’s own Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spotted InSight from orbit in December.
InSight’s heat shield, landing parachutes protective shell can also be seen as small dots.
Martian Dust Devils
A stereoscopic image shows more dust devil streaks, in blue, on the edge of a massive crater. Throw on a pair of basic 3D glasses to appreciate the full effect.
The following images shows the edge of the Burroughs crater roughly 120 miles northwest of Mars’ northern polar ice cap. Some of the northernmost mounds are thought to be completely made up of “nearly pure water ice.”