When the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) reached the Red Planet some six years ago, its primary mission was to map the Martian landscape and act as a survey probe for future landings. Using its high-resolution camera, the MRO has also managed to help answer some of the most enduring questions about the planet, such as the true makeup of the “Face on Mars.” Now, the probe is still surprising mission scientists with amazing photos, such as this recent capture:
The MRO has identified over 250 of these coils in the Athabasca Valles region near the Mars equator. Originally thought to have been created by ancient ice floes, scientists speculate they may be the result of lava flows from volcanic activity.
Dr. William J. Clancey of the NASA Ames Research Center discussed roving the Martian landscape with Spirit and Opportunity robots. Perhaps future landers on Mars can uncover the true nature of these coils?