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NASA publishes 1,035 new images of Mars, here’s 60 of the best

NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has been sending photos back home nearly every month since 2005, expanding our knowledge of the red planet immeasurably. But this month it’s outdone itself, sending back 1,035 brand new high-res images.

Why the sudden surge in output? Planetary Image Research Laboratory director Alfred McEwan explained in an interview that this was because the timing was just right. Every 26 months the line of sight between Mars and Earth coincides with Mars’ equinox, which offers plenty of light and gives the MRO views from the north to south pole. The rest of the time half of the globe is wreathed in shadow, so this moment is the only opportunity to get a glimpse of the entire thing.

We’ve chosen some of the most amazing photos for your perusal. Among them you can find possible landing sites for their future missions, such as the Mars 2020 rover mission. NASA needs to find just the right terrain for the rover to navigate, so it appears they have looked for flatter, more manageable land for sites.

That’s not to say they’re only looking for plains. As well as landing sites you’ll see plenty of pictures that are keeping track of new crater impacts, slope flows, and ice in the polar regions. NASA wants to see how the world is changing and find any more signs of water, which will be the focus of their next visit.

You can find the entire collection of images available here in all manner of formats and sizes. If you were in the market for a new desktop wallpaper, you aren’t any more. 

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