Astronomy Picture of the Day
November 11, 2012

The very Large and Dark Dunefield of Brashear Crater
The very Large and Dark Dunefield of Brashear Crater

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

Brashear Crater is an old Impact Crater located in the Thaumasia Quadrangle of Mars, at 54,14° South Latitude and 119,03° West Longitude. It is approx. 77,45 Km in diameter, and it was named after the American Astronomer John A. Brashear (1840 – 1920); just out of curiosity, the official name for this Crater was approved by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) in 1973.

As you know, many places on Mars are covered by Sand Dunes, and quite a few Impact Craters found in the Region of Thaumasia showed, through Earth-located telescopic views, the presence of "dark blotches" inside them. High Resolution Photos taken by several NASA Orbiters (from the Vikings 1 and 2, until the Mars Odyssey and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter) proved that the dark markings inside these Craters were Dark Dunefields and/or isolated Dark Sand Dunes. The Dark Sand Dunes, probably, show this color because they contain a remarkable quantity of Volcanic Basalt, and Brashear Crater, as you can see, is just one of the Thaumasian Impact Craters with a very Dark (and, therefore, probably Basaltic) Dunefield inside it.

Orbit Number: 48153
Latitude: 53,3619° South
Longitude: 240,455° East
Instrument: VIS
Captured: October, 22nd, 2012

This frame (which is an Original Mars Odyssey Orbiter b/w frame published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 16337) 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 Odyssey 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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