Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
2002 May 31
Explanation: Scroll right and dive into a spectacular canyon on Mars. This daytime infrared view, recently recorded by the THEMIS camera on board the orbiting Mars Odyssey spacecraft, covers a 30 by 175 kilometre swath running along the canyon floor. The north (left) end of the scene is poised at the edge of Candor Chasma, part of the great Valles Marineris canyon system. In all about 4,000 kilometres long and up to 6 kilometres deep, Valles Marineris is roughly five times the size of the Grand Canyon on planet Earth. The THEMIS camera data was recorded in three separate infrared bands and combined to make this striking false-colour image. Resulting colour differences along this intricate section of martian terrain are attributed to differences in mineralogy, the chemical makeup and structure of the rocks, sediments and surface dust.
Authors & editors:
Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.