01/26/2012 04:43 pm ET Updated Mar 27, 2012

Mars Pictures: NASA Releases New Images From Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (PHOTOS)

NASA on Wednesday added four spectacular images to its 20,500-photo database of high-resolution images of Mars.

These new images were taken in November and December of 2011 by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO).


Launched in 2005, the MRO's mission is to look for signs that water existed on the red planet for an extended length of time, explore the planet's climate and study its geology.

In addition to the HiRISE camera, the orbiter is also equipped with instruments that analyze minerals and monitor the weather on the planet, among others.

As you'll see, the images are amazingly detailed. In fact, According to io9, some images taken by the HiRISE camera have more than 100 times the data of a picture taken with a 10-megapixel camera.

NASA's rover Opportunity this week celebrated its 8th anniversary on Mars. Curiosity, a car-sized nuclear-powered rover, is currently on its way to Mars and is expected to land in August.

For more about the HiRISE camera, click over to this recent io9 interview with Alfred McEwen, the HiRISE principle investigator.

And if you're looking for more MRO pictures of Mars, take a look at the University of Arizona's database of HiRISE images.

LOOK: Amazing Images of Mars: