Up at The Planetary Society’s web site, Emily Lakdawalla has amazing photo’s taken from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. You gotta see ’em to believe ’em.
The subject is a peculiar, whitish rock formation, that appears to be the exposed portion of the bed-rock below the Martian surface. The thumbnail that I’m showing on the right (or above, depending on your screen resolution) has the scale – the mark is 5 km in extent (about 3 miles). That’s the lo-res shot. For comparison, the second is from the Mariner 9 mission in 1972. Yes, it’s that little brighter area inside the crater. Viva la difference!
But that’s nowhere close to the capabilities of the HiRISE camera onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. If you have a broadband connection and anything like a decent monitor, you’ll be stunned at the full scale view which shows a portion of this area so that objects a couple of feet across can be picked out easily. As Emily puts it,
Like most other HiRISE images I’ve looked at, this one fascinates but also stupefies me. It shows me Mars at a scale that I could walk with my own two feet. I can reach out and touch it. It seems that, with my previous experience in field geology, I should be able to interpret what I see intuitively. But it’s almost too close. I can’t wrap my mind around the features I’m seeing and figure out what they mean about the geology of the region as a whole.