Astronomy Picture of the Day
December 24, 2012

Rocknest 3 - Sol 59
Rocknest 3 - Sol 59

Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems and Dr Paolo C. Fienga/LXTT/IPF, for the additional process. and color.

This view of a Martian Rock nicknamed "Rocknest 3" combines 4 (four) images taken by the right-eye camera of the Mast Camera (MastCam) Instrument located onboard the NASA - Mars Exploration Rover - Mars Laboratory "Curiosity", which has a telephoto, 100-millimeter-focal-length lens. The component images were taken a few minutes after Martian noon (---> 12:00 Mars Local Solar Time) on the 59th Martian Day, or Sol, of Curiosity's operations at Gale CraterMars.

Rocknest 3 is a Sedimentary Rock approximately 15" (such as about 40 centimeters) long and about 4" (approx. 10 centimeters) tall; next to "Rocknest 3" there is a patch of windblown Dust and Sand where Curiosity scooped and analyzed several Soil Samples. The MastCam was about 13 feet (approx. 4 meters) from Rocknest 3 when the component images were taken, thus providing an image scale of about 0,01" (approx. 0,3 millimeter) per pixel.

This picture (which is an Original NASA - Mars Exploration Rover - Mars Laboratory "Curiosity" white-balanced color frame published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 16452) has been additionally processed and then re-colorized in Absolute Natural Colors (such as the colors that a human eye would actually perceive if someone were near the NASA - Mars Exploration Rover (MER) - Mars Laboratory "Curiosity" and then looked down, towards the Rock known as Rocknest 3), 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 Gale Crater, each having a different Albedo (---> Reflectivity) and Chemical Composition.

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