News Release Archive:

News Release 94 of 178

February 25, 1999 12:00 AM (EST)

News Release Number: STScI-1999-07

Martian Colors Provide Clues about Martian Water

February 25, 1999: 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.

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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