Astronomy Picture of the Day
October 22, 2012

Layering on the West Flank of Arsia Mons
Layering on the West Flank of Arsia Mons

Credits: NASA/JPL/MSSS - Mars Global Surveyor Mission - Credits for the additional process.: Dr Paolo C. Fienga/Lunar Explorer Italia/IPF

Today's APOD is a NASA - Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) - Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image (dated March, 2005) showing dust-covered Layered Rocks outcropping in a Collapse Pit located on the lower West Flank of Arsia Mons: one of the large Tharsis Shield Volcanoes. Given their location, these Layers are very likley dominated by Volcanic Rocks - mostly Basalt -, including Lava Flows. Just out of curiosity, an Extra Detail Magnification (EDM) of a very similar Volcanic Feature (perhaps, once we have considered the coordinates of the EDM - such as 8,6° South Latitude and about 236° West Longitude -, a detail of the Layers located in the same Collapse Pit that we are showing you today) was imaged by the NASA - Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) in the month of July of the AD 2007. If you wish to make by yourself a visual comparison between the two Surface Features, and then try to find out if the MRO frame of 2007 is actually a more detailed view of this very same location shown today and imaged by the MGS in 2005, remember that we published the MRO picture on the APOD dated June, 30th, 2012 (with the title "Layering in a (VERY Dusty) Collapse Pit").

Location near: 8,8° South Latitude and 123,7° West Longitude
Image width: ~ 4,8 Km (~ 3 miles)
Illumination from: upper right

This picture (which is an Original NASA - Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) / Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) b/w frame published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 07298) has been additionally processed and then colorized in Absolute Natural Colors (such as the colors that a human eye would actually perceive if someone were onboard the NASA - Mars Global Surveyor 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. Different colors, as well as different shades of the same color, mean, among other things, the existence of different Elements (Minerals) present on the Surface of Mars, each having a different Albedo (---> Reflectivity) and Chemical Composition.

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