American Space Agency NASA has released a breath-taking photo of the blue dunes on Mars on Thursday April 8. The photo is a part of a special set of images captured by the Thermal Emission Imaging System instrument on the Mars Odyssey orbiter. The picture release to mark the 20th anniversary of Odyssey- the robotic spacecraft that circles the planet.
It captured an area as wide as 31 kilometres. The entire sea of dunes equals to an area close to the size of Texas at an area of about 695,662 sq km.
The picture is made of a combination of images captured by the Thermal Emission Imaging System instrument on the Mars Odyssey orbiter between December 2002 and November 2004. The pictured location on Mars is 80.3 degrees north latitude, 172.1 degrees east longitude.
The photo of the dunes is false colour image which means that the colours are representative of temperatures.
The areas with cooler temperatures are recorded in bluer tints, while warmer features are depicted in yellows and oranges. Due to this reason, the dark, sun warmed dunes glow with a beautiful golden colour. It also shows wind-sculpted lines surrounding Mars' frosty northern polar cap.
The Mars Odyssey orbiter spacecraft was launched in 2001. It uses a thermal imager to find out what the planet is made of, detect water and shallow buried ice and study the radiation environment.