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At this point in Nocti's Labyrinthus, the spur of a great rift valley system, open up several canyons and form a four-kilometer-deep hollow. (Photo: NASA / JPL-Caltech / University of Arizona)

An dieser Stelle in Noctis Labyrinthus, dem Ausläufer eines großen Grabenbruchsystems, münden mehrere Canyons und bilden eine vier Kilometer tiefe Mulde. (Foto: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona)

At this point in Nocti's Labyrinthus, the spur of a great rift valley system, open up several canyons and form a four-kilometer-deep hollow. (Photo: NASA / JPL-Caltech / University of Arizona)

It is the reddish dust on its surface that earned Mars its nickname "Red Planet". The neighbor of the earth shimmers in many different colors - if he was photographed by the NASA space probe Mars Odyssey. Using a false color technique, the camera creates images in the probe that turn the celestial body into an art object. And in the name of science.

False colors are used by researchers to highlight differences in hues and shades of gray. On a Mars photo, for example, different soil layers can be distinguished. The false-color images from Mars are not only helpful to scientists - the colorful images also have an aesthetic value.

Art with utility

The photos were taken by the "Thermal Emission Imaging System" (THEMIS): a camera aboard the NASA space probe Mars Odyssey, which has been in orbit since October 2001. THEMIS covers both visible and infrared regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. Scientists use the images to explore the geological properties of the Martian surface. The pictures help, for example, in the search for volcanic areas or areas that were previously covered by water. In addition, you can find in the photos, suitable landing sites for future Mars missions.

© science.de - Maximilian Erbach
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