Even with the naked eye on Earth, we can make out Mars’ color, a red speck millions of miles away.
That red color has been shown in detail over the years, with a number of orbiters taking high resolution photos of the surface. Now we see a more enhanced color image of Mars, thanks to the ESA’s Mars Express probe, which helps to distinguish the many geologic features that make up the planet.
Take a look at the beautiful image below, which will see a range of robotic and human activity over the next decade.
“It is well known that most of Mars is reddish in colour, due to the high amount of oxidised iron in the dust on its surface, earning it the nickname the ‘Red Planet’. But it is also immediately noticeable that a considerable region of Mars is rather dark, appearing bluish in colour in image 1. These regions represent greyish-blackish-bluish sands, which are volcanic in origin and form large, dark sand layers on Mars. They were primarily piled up by the wind to form imposing sand dunes or enormous dune fields on the floor of impact craters. These unweathered sands consist of dark, basaltic minerals, of which volcanic lava on Earth is also composed. Basalt is the most widespread volcanic rock on Earth — and in the Solar System. Earth’s ocean floor is made of basalt, as are the extinct volcanoes of the Eifel, Mount Etna in Sicily and volcanoes of the Hawaiian archipelago.”