New Perseverance Photos Show The Dazzling Size Of Mars' Dunes

Sand dunes are one of the most iconic aspects of Mars' surface, and NASA's Perseverance rover just shared two new photos showcasing their imposing beauty. If there's one defining characteristic for Mars, it's the planet's barren environment. There's no running water, no signs of life, and it has surface temperatures no human could withstand. Instead, Mars is a planet loaded with dust, rocks, and sand.

However, that's not to say the planet isn't interesting. Mars has captivated the attention of countless scientists and astronomers over the years. It's so captivating, in fact, that NASA has multiple robots exploring the planet to conduct extensive research — one of them being Perseverance. Perseverance landed on Mars in February intending to find signs of ancient life. A big part of this revolves around collecting multiple rock samples. When these are eventually returned to Earth, they may hold secrets about Mars we've been trying to uncover for decades.

Related: Curiosity Finds Two Very Different Rocks While Exploring Mars

Along with its extensive rock hunting, Perseverance also spends much of its time taking pictures of the Red Planet. More than 68,000 photos have already been shared after just nine months of work, with an especially large batch uploaded on November 17. Among all of the new images, two stick out as offering an especially great view of the Martian surface. The first one (seen at the top of the article) was captured using Perseverance's Right Mastcam-Z camera. It showcases Mars' famous yellow sky, a large dune off in the distance, and smaller dunes below it with intricate swirls and lines — likely caused by active winds on the planet. It looks like something you might find in a desert here on Earth. Unlike Earth, however, this is what all of Mars looks like.

The second photo was uploaded on the same day and captured with the same camera, though it offers a slightly different view of the scene above. More looming dunes can be seen in the distance, but from this angle, Perseverance highlights the sea of rocks in front of it. There are big rocks, small rocks, smooth rocks, jagged rocks, etc. The variety of rock formations on Mars is constantly fascinating, and here we have an area where tons of them are all present at the same time.

Images like this are important for multiple reasons. If the Perseverance team is looking for a new area to collect additional rock samples, studying these photos can potentially help them find new candidates. For everyone else, these pictures offer a first-hand view of what Mars really looks like. Chances are, most of us won't be able to step foot on the planet at any point in our lifetime. Thanks to rovers like Perseverance, we can still experience what Mars has to offer from the comfort of Earth. Its photos are educational, informative, and a ton of fun to look at.

Next: How Many Moons Does Mars Have & What Are They?

Source: NASA (1), (2)

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