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What are the green/blue patches we see in some of the images?
The colour of the greenish patches in Gusev crater in the first image released of this site is not correct. Unfortunately, an early version of Gusev image was released before the colour had been adjusted finally to be closer to true colour as the human eye would see it in a non-dusty atmosphere of Mars.
The early version of this image was replaced by a newly computed version with proper colours where the patches are grey to black with a blue tint. This is close to what a human eye would see under normal atmospheric conditions. Currently it is not easy to get true colours of the Martian landscape because Mars is very dusty and the scenes were taken with high sun angles. The scattering of light caused in these atmospheric and lighting conditions, by the dust in the atmosphere acting as tiny red filters, means that you see the surface with a diffuse reddish glow with somewhat fuzzy appearance.
Are the colour photographs processed?
Yes, the images have been processed but that is quite normal. We are not taking colour photographs, we have to combine the different colour channels which requires processing time. Each of the four colour channels operate with a filter of different wavelength (red, green, blue and infrared) and produce data sets which have to be combined and calculated on to a digital elevation model.
The colour channels are absolutely real, but they do not reflect the true colour as we would see it with our eyes. These views can be obtained by processing the data, which does not mean ‘faking’ the colours, but fitting them to standard spectral curves which we know. We adjust the obtained colour image data to a standard spectral curve derived from Earth-based observations in terms of wavelength and intensity.
If we have dust, haze or other atmospheric conditions, various wavelengths get partially filtered. Obviously, images get more blurry and some colours become more dominant. Sun-exposed slopes reflect or absorb light in a different way to dark slopes or dark material (such as dark spots of possible sediments seen in some images).
The main limitation, of course, is that from orbit we do not have any colour adjustment possibilities as for example, the NASA rovers. They have colour references mounted on their rovers and even they have problems matching their colours.
Originally posted by Yarium
And as for the "miner" vehicle thing, I like the photoshopped piece to help me see it, but I still don't see it in the circled piece!
Originally posted by jdjaguar
There has not been any comment to my knowledge from ESA regarding this image