Space Photos of the Week: For a Red Planet, Mars Has Some Pretty Blue Craters

This week the sun was busy, as usual, spewing out massive volumes of charged particles and plasma at temperatures of over one million degrees. In this video you can see large arches of particles forming around the magnetic field lines of the sun.

This photo snapped by MRO shows a dark sliver down the middle of the Martian surface—a sliver that scientists have no idea how to identify. Sometimes these regions show up due to irregularities in surface material, but for now this shadowed area remains a mystery.

Oh hello there tiny astronauts! The two spacewalkers seen in this photo are NASA astronauts Randy Bresnik and Mark Vande Hai, out on a spacewalk to replace some parts of the the robotic CanadaArm2 on the International Space Station.

It’s easy to forget that Mars once had volcanic activity. But in this MRO image, a pockmarked crater shows signs of volcanic activity like lava flow. You can also see present-day erosion from wind around the rim of the crater.

The blue area of this crater on Mars shows a region that’s being actively eroded away by Martian winds. The small dunes, in the bottom part of the frame, are likely being fed by the eroded slopes of the crater. Scientists are still unsure where the most of the grains of sand are coming from on Mars, and with photos like this from the camera-toting Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, they’re a bit closer to solving the puzzle.

Every space nerd’s dream is to have an asteroid named after them, and this week one space rock was gifted a new namesake. On October 12, European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano got a high space honor by having an asteroid named in his honor, simply dubbed-1993 TD: (37627) Lucaparmitano, this asteroid was found by a fellow Italian in 1993.

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