If you’ve been jonesing for some good, ol’ fashioned space porn — we have you covered.
The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has been orbiting the Red Planet for a decade or so, sporadically sending pics back, which show off the Martian landscape. But every 26 months the stars (or, well, the sun, Earth and Mars, to be specific) align and the orbiter has an unobstructed view to connect to NASA and send back a boatload of photos and data. Luckily for us, that event occurred earlier this year.
NASA has posted more than 1,000 photos from the interplanetary photo dump, which also coincided with the planet’s equinox, when the sun illuminates Mars from the north to the south pole. As The Verge notes, this made the photoshoot even more exciting, allowing the satellite to pick up some rare shots of little-seen features on the Martian surface.
We’ve picked out a few of our favorites below, but check out the full NASA gallery here.