Release 785 of 1,092

Martian Colors Provide Clues about Martian Water

Release date: Feb 25, 1999 12:00 AM (EST)

Hubble telescope images of Mars detail a rich geologic history and provide further evidence for water-bearing minerals on the planet's surface.

These pictures showcase the planet in both visible and infrared light. In the image on the left, taken in visible light, Mars appears in natural color or as we would see it close-up. The multicolor picture on the right was taken in infrared light, which is invisible to the eye. Therefore, astronomers have assigned false colors to highlight important features that cannot be seen in visible light. Hubble's unique infrared view illustrates variations in the abundance and distribution of unknown water-bearing minerals on the planet. While it has been known for decades that small amounts of water-bearing minerals exist on the planet's surface, the reddish regions in this image indicate areas of enhanced concentrations of these as-yet-unidentified deposits.