Astronomy Picture of the Day
October 8, 2012

Southern Impact Crater with Bright and Colorful Layers (CTX Frame and EDM - inset)
Southern Impact Crater with Bright and Colorful Layers (CTX Frame and EDM - inset)

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

This image, obtained by the NASA - Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (HiRISE Camera), shows us a wide portion of a relatively recent (geologically speaking, of course...) Impact Crater, located in the Southern Hemisphere of the Red Planet, and which is about 7 Km wide. Partway down from (but still quite close to) the Crater Rim, there is a prominent bright Layer of Bedrock. The full-resolution color data shows three distinct Bedrock colors: a pale yellow, a light greenish-gray and a very dark blue (almost black, in Absolute Natural Colors). These Layers should reasonably correspond to different types of Rock that, in time, were deposited as nearly flat-lying sheets; nobody can be sure, but - perhaps - this "colorful" Layering is a combination of Lava Flows and Sediments. The relatively blue and dark blue colors visible in the HiRISE InfraRed Color Frame (not shown here and which, in the Absolute Natural Colors' EDM - inset -, appear as greenish-gray and extremely dark blue to almost black) might correspond to Minerals like Olivine and Pyroxene, which can easily be found, among others, in some specific types of Lava.

Mars Local Time: 15:39 (Middle Afternoon)
Coord. (centered): 26,092° South Lat. and 88,942° East Long.
Spacecraft altitude: 257,7 Km (such as about 161,0 miles)
Original image scale range: 51,6 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~ 1 mt and 55 cm across are resolved
Map projected scale: 50 cm/pixel
Emission Angle: 5,0°
Phase Angle: 66,0°
Solar Incidence Angle: 61° (meaning that the Sun was about 29° above the Local Horizon at the time the picture was taken)
Solar Longitude: 168,7° (Northern Summer - Southern Winter)
Credits: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
Additional process. and coloring: Lunar Explorer Italia

These two pictures (which are a NASA - Original Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter CTX b/w and EDM color frames, both identified by the serial n. ESP_028693_1535) have been additionally processed and then colorized (and re-colorized, respectively) 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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