Happy Mars week! NASA just successfully land its InSight lander on the surface of Mars last Monday, and this week’s space photos will take us there. InSight sits just a few hundred miles north of where the Curiosity rover is exploring Gale Crater, and it will be the first spacecraft whose sole purpose is to study the interior of Mars. It will detect marsquakes and measure the heat coming from the inside of the planet, helping scientists understand what the interior of Mars looks like, how active is it down there, and how large the core is. Understanding these things will help scientists better understand Martian history—and the formation of the solar system.
Until InSight gets up and running, let’s look at images from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance orbiter, which has spent years studying the way the climate changes on Mars. At the south pole, the thawing of water and carbon dioxide ices create odd metallic-looking patterns, while at the north pole, an intricate array of polygons appears when the planet transitions from winter to spring.
Enjoying being a temporary Martian? Check out the full collection of space photos here.
Diamonds and lasers could power your drone
The WIRED Guide to online shopping (and digital retail)
PHOTOS: Four Freedoms recast for modern America
The music obsessives who tape your favorite concerts
Inside the pricey war to influence your Instagram feed
Hungry for even more deep dives on your next favorite topic? Sign up for the Backchannel newsletter