NASA Has Just Released 2,540 Gorgeous New Photos of Mars

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If it’s quiet solitude and beauty you seek, there is no better place than the surface of Mars.

Mars has earned its moniker as the red planet, but the HiRISE camera aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) can transform the subtle differences of soils into a rainbow of colours.

For 10 years, HiRISE has recorded gorgeous – and scientifically valuable – images of Mars.

Its photos are so detailed that scientists can examine the planet’s features at the scale of just a few feet, including the recent crash site of Europe’s Schiaparelli Mars lander.

We combed through 2,054 of the camera’s latest pictures, released in August, September, and October, to bring you some of the best – and hopefully help you temporarily escape Earth.

NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

A large chasm:

NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Some dark, rust-colored dunes in Russell Crater:

NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

NASA might land its next nuclear-powered Mars 2020 rover mission here.

NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

The black splotch is where the European Space Agency’s Schiaparelli Mars lander crashed. The white specks, pointed out with arrows, are pieces of the lander.

Zebra skin. Just kidding, this is a dune field that’s speckled with oval-shaped mineral deposits:

NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

False-coloring this image makes a giant dune and its gullies look blue.

NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

A possible landing site for the ExoMars 2020 mission, which the European Space Agency is running.

NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

A North Pole dune field nicknamed “Kolhar,” after Frank Herbert’s fictional world.

NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Carbon dioxide that turns from solid to gas carves out these strange shapes at Mars’ south pole:

NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

A recent impact crater on Mars. (We’re pretty sure no one put out a giant cigarette here.)

NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

‘Spiders’ are eruptions of dust caused by the way the Martian surface warms and cools:

NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Cerberus Palus crater showing off layered sediments:

NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

NASA keeps an eye of gullies like this for small landslides – and any water that melts in the warm sun to form darker-colored mud.

NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Another gully scientists are having HiRISE monitor:

NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Glacial terrain looks strangely iridescent:

NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

A steep slope in Eastern Noctis Labyrinthus:

NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Dunes in a Martian crater. The red bar is an artifact of NASA’s image processing:

NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Wind-shaped dunes on Mars crawl across cracked soil in Nili Patera. The green bar is leftover from processing the image:

NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

The same sand dunes in full color, a couple of months later:

NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

A crater on Arcadia Planitia, a large flat region of Mars:

NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

A small but recent impact crater:

NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Blowing sand eats through the rims of older craters:

NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

This is the edge of a special layered deposit at Mars’ south pole.

The false-colour makes the white look like ice, but it’s just one of the many layers of rock and soil.

NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

This crater near a region called Aonia Terra looks like part of the Death Star.

NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

A fracture in the floor of Upper Morava Valles.

NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

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