New images shared from NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) mission show Mars in stunning ultraviolet wavelengths.
The MAVEN spacecraft used its imaging ultraviolet spectrograph instrument to capture the remarkable views of the red planet in 2022 and this year, when Mars was near opposite ends of its elliptical orbit around the sun.
The instrument measures wavelengths between 110 and 340 nanometers, which is outside the visible spectrum.
In order to make the wavelengths visible to the human eye, images are rendered with varying brightness levels of three ultraviolet wavelength ranges. They are represented as red, green and blue.
The first image was taken in July 2022, during the southern hemisphere’s summer season. That occurs when Mars passes closest to the sun.
The images were taken when Mars was near opposite ends of its elliptical orbit. (NASA/LASP/CU Boulder)
Argyre Basin, one of Mars’ deepest craters, appears at bottom left and is filled with a pale pink haze and the deep canyons of Valles Marineris appear at top left. The southern polar ice cap is visible at bottom in white.
The MAVEN spacecraft launched in November 2013 and entered Mars’ orbit the following September.