Astronomy Picture of the Day
November 23, 2012

Dust Devil Tracks and a fresh Impact Crater in Arcadia Planitia
Dust Devil Tracks and a fresh Impact Crater in Arcadia Planitia

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

In this picture, taken by the NASA - Mars Odyssey Orbiter in the past month of July, 2012, the Surface Features that anybody can immediately recognize, are the Dust Devil Tracks: an extremely common Martian Surface Feature belonging to the Main Cathegory of the so-called Aeolian (---> Wind caused and/or related) Surface Features. As a matter of fact, these Dust Devil Tracks cover almost the entire scene, which shows us a small portion of the Martian Region known as Arcadia Planitia.

Said that, we wish to draw to your attention another Surface Feature that, in our opinion, as IPF, is way more interesting, rare and intriguing than the aforementioned Dust Devil Tracks. If you look towards the top of the frame, slightly to the right (at about one 'o clock of the screen), you will recognize an High Albedo Feature which, once you look at it carefully, reveals itself as a (relatively) young and small Impact Crater, with a well defined Dark Ray-System that is still clearly visible (notice that, on the other hand, all the other Impact Craters visible in this picture look old, or even very old, mostly semi-buried and with their Floors almost completely filled by Wind-transported Sediments).

But this is not all! As you can see, the lower portion of the Inner Rim of this recent (and Unnamed) Impact Crater shows a white and bright (oversaturated) spot that cannot be perfectly defined at this resolution, but which could be explained, always in our humble opinion, as a Water-Ice Patch that has been exposed by the impact that created the Crater itself: a possibility, this one, that, once you take into duly account the High Latitude where the Bright Feature is located, we believe that it sounds more than plausible and realistic.

Orbit Number: 47093
Latitude: 62,264° North
Longitude: 194,781° East
Instrument: VIS
Captured: July, 26th, 2012

This frame (which is an Original Mars Odyssey Orbiter b/w frame published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 16473) 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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