Astronomy Picture of the Day
December 26, 2012

Features of Lyot Crater
Features of Lyot Crater

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

The large and Dark Dunefield visible in this VIS image taken by the NASA - Mars Odyssey Orbiter during its 47.648th orbit around the Red Planet, is found on the Floor of Lyot Crater: a large (approx. 236 Km in diameter) and old Impact Crater located in the Vastitas Borealis Region of Mars, at about 50,8° North Latitude and 330,7° West Longitude, within the Ismenius Lacus Quadrangle. This Crater was so named after Bernard Lyot, a French Astronomer (1897 – 1952). Lyot stands out on the Plains of Vastitas Borealis, which are generally flat and smooth with the presence of only a few large Impact Craters and, just out of curiosity, this Crater represents the deepest point in the entire Northern Hemisphere of Mars.

A few highly detailed images taken by the NASA - Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have shown the presence, on the Floor of Lyot Crater, of several Valleys that (likely) might have been carved by flowing Water, and some Scientists now believe that these Features could have formed more recently than other similar ones on Mars (and this means that Water could have actually been flowing within the Rivers located inside Lyot Crater only 1 Million Years ago, or even less). The source of the Water that fed all these Rivers could have (reasonably) been located in the proximities of - or maybe even within - some Glaciers that are not too distant from Lyot. However, and just to give you an idea of the enormous mass of Water that was involved in this Rivers' Network, we wish to remind you that the Valleys found inside Lyot Crater are, in average, over 250 meters wide and tens of kilometers long!

Latitude (centered): 50,2217° North
Longitude: 28,7883° East
Instrument: VIS
Captured: October, 9th, 2012

This frame (which is an Original Mars Odyssey Orbiter b/w frame published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 16512) 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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