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Everybody knows that Mars is also nicknamed the red Planet because of the color it has. However, things might not change after NASA managed to obtain some interesting pictures from one of its orbiters. The Mars Renaissance Orbiter managed to capture what looks like a blue sand dune on the surface of the planet. The orbiter reportedly used the HiRISE camera, which NASA described as the most powerful to ever be sent on another planet. However, it’s worth noting that after analysis and a few editing efforts, the dune appears to actually be grey, not blue.
In fact, orbiters do not touch the surface of a planet, like rovers do. Instead, they watch and monitor the planet from outside its atmosphere, sometimes catching interesting images. Actually, without this camera, the naked human eye might only see a grey dune and nothing else. But with the camera, a lot more details become visible and even like this, not everything is clear because of the dust on the planet. There are some steps that need to be take in order for these images to appear as clear as they are.
Orbiter finds unusual blue sand dune on the Red Planet
— Orlando Sentinel (@orlandosentinel) June 26, 2018
According to Alfred McEwen, director of the Planetary Image Research Laboratory at the University of Arizona, the orbiter takes three separate images of a certain area. After that, a team adjusts the colors individually to red, green and blue. They use infrared technology to do this and obtain the final result that everyone can see.
So, because of the contrast, the sand dune on Mars appears to be a shade of blue. This is because it’s made of something else than the surroundings. It’s worth mentioning that the orbiter found the dune on the Lyot Crater. This blue dune is special because of its shape, because all the other in the area are crescent-shaped.
Image source: pixabay