NASA’s Curiosity rover has released a new batch of raw images taken from the surface of Mars. The new photos showcase the various stunning rock formations and other landscape features of the Red Planet.

The team handling Curiosity announced the rover’s latest collection of photos via Twitter. The images can also be accessed through NASA’s Curiosity website.

The photos taken by the rover are so clear that they look like they were taken from a rocky desert on Earth. Each of the photos shows various details on the rock formations including the streaks that were most likely made by the harsh Martian winds and dust storms.

According to NASA, the images were taken using Curiosity’s Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), which is attached to the end of the rover’s robotic arm.

The space agency explained that due to the limited data that Curiosity can send to Earth, the MAHLI photos are scaled down to thumbnail images.

“MAHLI thumbnails are approximately 8 times smaller than the original, parent image,” NASA said in a statement. “Because the amount of data that Curiosity can send back to Earth each day is limited, small versions of MAHLI’s images are sent as soon as possible after a new picture is acquired or produced.”

Images of the rock formations are Curiosity’s latest contribution to NASA’s ongoing exploration on Mars. Earlier in June, the rover made a surprising discovery by detecting a huge volume of methane on the alien planet.

According to NASA, the methane measured by Curiosity was about 21 parts per billion units by volume. This means that one billionth of a volume of air on Mars is methane. NASA regarded it as the largest volume of methane ever measured during Curiosity’s mission.

Follow-up observations on the methane levels on Mars revealed that they have already decreased. Despite this, NASA is still unsure what caused the huge methane spike or where it came from.

Since the rover doesn’t have the necessary instruments to analyze the source of the methane, it is not yet clear if it was caused by a biological or geological phenomenon.

Mars rock formation
NASA's Mars rover Curiosity acquired this image using its Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), located on the turret at the end of the rover's robotic arm, on July 10, 2019, Sol 2462 of the Mars Science Laboratory Mission, at 17:00:31 UTC.When this image was obtained, the focus motor count position was 13531. This number indicates the internal position of the MAHLI lens at the time the image was acquired. This count also tells whether the dust cover was open or closed. Values between 0 and 6000 mean the dust cover was closed; values between 12500 and 16000 occur when the cover is open. For close-up images, the motor count can in some cases be used to estimate the distance between the MAHLI lens and target. For example, in-focus images obtained with the dust cover open for which the lens was 2.5 cm from the target have a motor count near 15270. If the lens is 5 cm from the target, the motor count is near 14360; if 7 cm, 13980; 10 cm, 13635; 15 cm, 13325; 20 cm, 13155; 25 cm, 13050; 30 cm, 12970. These correspond to image scales, in micrometers per pixel, of about 16, 25, 32, 42, 60, 77, 95, and 113.Most images acquired by MAHLI in daylight use the sun as an illumination source. However, in some cases, MAHLI's two groups of white light LEDs and one group of longwave ultraviolet (UV) LEDs might be used to illuminate targets. When Curiosity acquired this image, the group 1 white light LEDs were off, the group 2 white light LEDs were off, and the ultraviolet (UV) LEDS were off. NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS