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NASA released a stunning photo of blue dunes on Mars

The false-color image was captured by a thermal imager on the Mars Odyssey orbiter

SHARE NASA released a stunning photo of blue dunes on Mars

This composite photo, colorized with thermal imaging software, shows 19 square miles of a dune covered region of Mars that’s roughly the size of Texas.

Screenshot, NASA.gov

On April 8, NASA released a stunning image of an area on the surface of Mars to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Odyssey orbiter.

According to SciTechDaily.com, the image shows contrasting blue and orange dunes that cover a 19-square-mile area on the red planet, though the dunes themselves extend to create a region the size of Texas.

The image above does not accurately depict the true colors of the area, Business Insider reports, explaining that the shades of blue and orange are used to represent temperatures. The blue areas represent cooler climes in the sandy region while the shades of yellow and orange mark warmer zones that have been heated by direct sunlight. According to Business Insider, NASA refers to these types of photos as “false color” images.

The coordinates for the pictured location is 80.3 degrees north, 172.1 degrees east on the red planet SciTechDaily.com reports, adding that the the photo is actually a composite image made from multiple photos taken by the Mars Odyssey orbiter’s Thermal Emission Imaging System instrument over a two year span.

According to Business Insider, the Mars Odyssey orbiter is a spacecraft that was launched in 2001. It uses its thermal imaging system to detect evidence of water on the red planet and has been doing so for the past two decades.