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A large strip of "blue" was found on the Red Planet




  Mars is often referred to as the Red Planet, but pictures of one of NASA's orbiters showed a striking blue sand dune. (NASA)
Mars is often referred to as the Red Planet, but images from one of NASA's orbiter showed what appeared to be a striking blue sand dune. (NASA)
  Mars is often referred to as the Red Planet, but images of a NASA orbiter showed what appeared to be a striking blue sand dune. (NASA)
Mars is often referred to as the Red Planet, but images from one of NASA's orbiter showed what appeared to be a striking blue sand dune. (NASA)

(CNN) – Mars is often referred to as the Red Planet, but images from a NASA orbiter showed a striking blue sand dune.

The images were taken from the Martian Renaissance Orbiter using the HiRISE camera describes on his website "the strongest camera ever sent to another planet".

But the dune is not really blue, it's gray. After an extensive editing process, colors and lines appear.

Unlike rovers, orbiters do not touch the ground, but monitor the planet just outside its atmosphere.

Without the camera, the human eye would see a picture of gray slate and not much else. The camera takes much more detail, but even this device can not see everything because of all the dust on the planet.

Three separate images of the area are taken and the colors are individually set to red, blue and green. Infrared technology, said Alfred McEwen, director of the Planetary Image Research Laboratory at the University of Arizona.

After raising the contrast, the dune appears turquoise blue because it is "made of finer material and / or has a different composition than the environment," according to a press release from NASA.

"Then we combine the colors because the images have a very low contrast," McEwen told CNN.

The dune was found on the Lyot crater, where most of the other dunes are barchan or crescent-shaped. They take this shape over to the wind because of their position. It is unclear why the "blue" dune is more abstract.

The-CNN-Wire
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