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Space slug?  Mars looks like an alien creature in a wild NASA image

This story is part Welcome to Marsour series exploring the red planet.

NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter returns loads of stunning views of the Red Planet, too many for me to keep track of. I’m counting on the folks at the University of Arizona who run the MRO HiRise camera to call the good stuff, like a really wild image that makes Mars look like it’s hosting a sci-fi alien creature.

the The HiRise team tweeted the eye-catching image last week, titled it “HiRise 3D: Stranger Things” and wrote, “Even without 3D glasses, this anaglyph looks extremely weird.

This Gomtuu name drop could use an explainer. This is a reference to an alien spaceship/lifeform from the third season of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Once you see it, you will appreciate it.

The HiRise team’s final suggestion (“just a dune field in an impact crater”) is indeed the correct description of what you are seeing. So why does it sound so psychedelic? It’s not quite what it would look like to the human eye. The MRO image is an anaglyph whose colors have been processed. It is designed to help researchers see the terrain of Mars in 3D.

Plot? Get out of the red and blue 3D glasses and explore the special collection of HiRise anaglyph images. Mars is full of mountains, canyons, plains, craters and dunes. You will get an idea of ​​the variations on the surface of the planet.

The image’s rolling dunes aren’t exactly red, but the heightened reality of the anaglyph makes it look like you could reach out and touch a textured chunk of Mars – or a dry, grainy space slug. Do you prefer.


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