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I keep saying this, but no one believes me. . . that Mars really isn’t red, but rather it is a dirty brown with a blue sky that only turns red thanks to dust storms. Now I have PROOF!!!

Pancam can’t take photographs in “true color”; like any digital camera, it can only approximate what the human eye sees. For the most realistic images, Pancam scientists combine images taken through three filters — red, green and blue — into a simulation of what a person might see.

The biggest problem is getting the red exactly right. Scientists tend to prefer to use Pancam’s infrared red filter, which reveals more information about a rock’s mineralogical makeup, than the filter sensitive to the red closer to what people on Mars might see.

“It’s sort of a Catch-22,” Joseph said. “To make the nicest pictures for the general public you want to take a certain set of filters. But for the scientists to get back the most scientific information, that’s probably not the filters they want to choose.”

Some of the rovers’ pictures have been taken using an infrared filter (called L2), combined with the blue and green filters, rather than a red filter (L4) combined with blue and green. But colors look quite different when seen in the infrared.

“If your eyes worked the same way, you’d see blue as bright white,” Bell said.

That last sentence is all the vindication I need! A great big “see-I-told-you-so” to all the naysayers!

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