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This region of Mars in this image from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter receives very little sunlight in the southern Mars winter, when this was taken. The bluish areas consist of frost. At the latitude of this image, frost is most likely composed of water because the temperature is not low enough for carbon dioxide condensation. The reddish regions are locations where frost has been removed, most likely by sublimation. The dark, unfrosted regions (for example, in the channel of the gully on the far right) represent the most recent activity in the gullies and are possibly a result of seasonal melting. Besides acquiring monochromatic images of 6-kilometer (3.7-mile) swath width and variable length, HiRISE can also image the central 20 percent of the swath width in color. Color images can help resolve ambiguities in image interpretation and will enable researchers to place compositional data from other experiments into more specific geologic context. HiRISE can "see" color in the visible range (the red, green, and blue portions of the spectrum) and beyond (in the near infrared), thus allowing for the detection of -- among other features -- characteristic alteration minerals that require water to form. Image credit: NASA/JPL/Univ. of Arizona

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