From NASA's Planetary Photojournal
The Hubble Space Telescope has taken the space-based observatory's sharpest views yet of the Red Planet with its Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 snapped images between April 27 and May 6,1999, when Mars was 54 million miles (87 million kilometers) from Earth. From this distance the telescope could see Martian features as small as 12 miles (19 kilometers) wide. This color composite is generated from data using three filters: blue (410 nanometers), green (502 nanometers), and red (673 nanometers).
This image is centered near the location of the Pathfinder landing site. Dark sand dunes that surround the polar cap merge into a large, dark region called Acidalia. This area, as shown by images from the Hubble telescope and other spacecraft, is composed of dark, sand-sized grains of pulverized volcanic rock. Below and to the left of Acidalia are the massive Martian canyon systems of Valles Marineris, some of which form long linear markings that were once thought by some to be canals. Early morning clouds can be seen along the left limb of the planet, and a large cyclonic storm composed of water ice is churning near the polar cap.
Image Title: A Closer Hubble Encounter With Mars - Pathfinder Landing Site
Catalog #: PIA01589
Target Name: Mars
Spacecraft: Hubble Space Telescope
Photo credits: Steve Lee (University of Colorado), Jim Bell (Cornell University), Mike Wolff (Space Science Institute), and NASA
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Last Modified On: Monday, December 18, 2000