The Opportunity, Spirit, and Curiosity rovers may get the headlines for their craters clambering exploits but it's NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, quietly observing the planet turn from 178 miles up, that's most critical to our exploration of the Red Planet.
At first I thought this image was a tattoo under a powerful microscope. One near some feminine naughty bits. But no, there are no tattoos as weird and wonderful as what this image really is. Not in this planet, anyway.
This close-up of the rough terrain near Mars' Zilair Crater was snapped by the High Resolution (HiRISE) camera aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on August 3. It's one of several amazing new images that make for some beautiful desktop wallpaper.
The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's HiRISE—High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment—camera has captured one of the most beautiful photographs of Mars to date: An oblique view—at 22 degrees east of straight down—of the Victoria Crater, in the Meridiani Planum region.