Astronomy Picture of the Day
September 3, 2012

Periglacial Surface Features in Arabia Terra
Periglacial Surface Features in Arabia Terra

Credits: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona - Credits for the additional process. and color.: Dr Paolo C. Fienga/Lunar Explorer Italia/IPF

In gereal terms, a Periglacial Region, both on Earth and on Mars, is a Region located at the edges of Glacial Areas; however, this term has specifically been widely used in Geomorphology to describe any place where Geomorphic Processes related to the Freezing of Water either occur or have occurred. In the original meaning of Periglacial Region, the reference was made to places which were NOT actually buried (---> covered) by Glacial Ice, but rather subject to intense Freezing Cycles and that exhibit obvious (---> well visible) Permafrost Weathering and Erosion Characteristics. Said that, the Periglacial Surface Features that you see in today's APOD are located in the Region of Arabia Terra, which is a large Upland (---> Northern) Region of Mars that lies, mostly, in the Arabia Quadrangle. Arabia Terra is a densely cratered and heavily eroded place, and this "battered" Topography is a strong indication of great age (as a matter of fact, Arabia Terra is presumed to be one of the oldest Terrains of Mars).

Mars Local Time: 14:13 (early afternoon)
Coord. (centered): 38,249° North Lat. and 353,540° East Long.
Spacecraft altitude: 315,9 Km (such as about 197,4 miles)
Original image scale range: 63,2 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~ 1 mt and 90 cm across are resolved
Map projected scale: 50 cm/pixel
Emission Angle: 20,0°
Phase Angle: 60,7°
Solar Incidence Angle: 42° (meaning that the Sun was about 48° above the Local Horizon at the time the picture was taken)
Solar Longitude: 20,5° (Northern Spring - Southern Fall)
Credits: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
Additional process. and coloring: Lunar Explorer Italia

This frame has been colorized in Absolute Natural Colors (such as the colors that a human eye would actually perceive if someone were onboard the NASA - Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and then looked down, towards the Surface of Mars), by using an original technique created - and, in time, dramatically improved - by the Lunar Explorer Italia Team.

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