Ice-Rich Clouds – False Color

This is an image of ice-rich clouds in false color, taken by the Odyssey satellite orbiting Mars.
September 24, 2018
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The THEMIS VIS camera contains 5 filters. The data from different filters can be combined in multiple ways to create a false color image. These false color images may reveal subtle variations of the surface not easily identified in a single band image.

The 5 filters are collected with a short delay between them. In creating false color images of the surface, the surface is stable and each filter image is overlaid and "connected" based of the location of identical surface features. However, when there is movement occurring during the delay, the filters don't overlay well.

In this case the movement is seen as bands of blue and yellow. These are ice-rich clouds over the summit of Arsia Mons. The altitude of the clouds and speed they are blown by the wind is enough that there is significant difference in cloud locations between the short delay separating the filters. Imaging transient clouds allows for study of the atmosphere of Mars.

Orbit Number: 60706 Latitude: -9.2731 Longitude: 239.942 Instrument: VIS Captured: 2015-08-21 06:46

Please see the THEMIS Data Citation Note for details on crediting THEMIS images.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory manages the 2001 Mars Odyssey mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) was developed by Arizona State University, Tempe, in collaboration with Raytheon Santa Barbara Remote Sensing. The THEMIS investigation is led by Dr. Philip Christensen at Arizona State University. Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Denver, is the prime contractor for the Odyssey project, and developed and built the orbiter. Mission operations are conducted jointly from Lockheed Martin and from JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.