One of the cardinal rules of good photography is good lighting. And for the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) spacecraft, which has been orbiting the planet since 2006, the lighting was just right.
Earlier in May, Mars experienced its equinox, according to Popular Science. This means the sun shone directly on its equator and lit up its north and south poles. In addition, the position of Mars and the Sun relative to Earth lent us a few weeks of unimpeded communication with Mars. Together, these factors resulted in one of the best image dumps that the MRO has provided since its launch.
Photos capture the planet's various terrain, which includes dunes, valleys, trenches and craters. To see these images (which have names that range from the simple "Steep Slopes" to the magnificent "Contact between Albor Tholus and Elysium Rise Lava Flows") check them out here.
NASA didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.