This "true-color" image of Mars shows the planet as it would look to human eyes. It is clearly more earth-toned than usually depicted in other astronomical images, including earlier Hubble pictures. The slightly bluer shade along the edges of the disk is due to atmospheric hazes and wispy water ice clouds (like cirrus clouds) in the early morning and late evening Martian sky. The yellowish-pink color of the northern polar cap indicates the presence of small iron-bearing dust particles. These particles are covering or are suspended in the air above the blue-white water ice and carbon dioxide ice, which make up the polar cap.
Researchers: Jim Bell (Cornell University), Justin Maki (NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory or JPL), and Mike Wolff (Space Sciences Institute), with acknowledgements to Robert Comstock (Central Washington University), Phil James (University of Toledo), and Dave Crisp (JPL) for image processing and acquisition assistance.
Photo Credit: Jim Bell (Cornell University), Justin Maki (JPL), and Mike Wolff (Space Sciences Institute) and NASA