You’re looking at an image captured by the HiRISE orbital camera back in January this year, from an altitude of 269 km (167 miles). It shows a little over 0.6 miles (1 km) of Martian surface, somewhere in the Eos Chasma region of the Valles Marineris canyon system.
Meant for geologists, the pic shows the side of a crater on the floor of the Chasma, exposing to the camera above quite the selection of rocks, nicely colored in blue and purple.
Before getting all excited at what possibilities the presence of such colors there could open, it’s worth saying these are only camera tricks, as the people looking at these Martian landscapes used enhanced colors to find out what they’re looking at.
In the HiRISE, near-infrared data appears as red, red is shown as green, and blue-green is shown as blue. This is done as a means for the terrain being studied to shed a bit more of its secrets.
Although a useful tool for the scientists studying the planet, such amalgamation of colors (the kind of which we’ve seen before here in our Mars coverage section) could be a bit confusing for the general public.
Luckily, NASA is here to advise us that “these are not the colors your eyes would see if you were there!”