Astronomy Picture of the Day
December 31, 2012

Yellowknife Bay - Sol 130
Yellowknife Bay - Sol 130

Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech - MER and Lab. Curiosity - Credits for the additional process.: Dr Paolo C, Fienga/Lunar Explorer Italia/IPF

In a shallow Surface Depression located on the Floor od Gale Crater and nicknamed "Yellowknife Bay", the NASA - Mars Exploration Rover (MER) - Mars Laboratory "Curiosity" drove to an Edge of the Depression itself during the 130th Martian Day, or Sol, of its mission (such as December, 17th, 2012), and then used its Navigation Camera (NavCam) to record a detailed image of the Ledge (positioned on the left margin of the Bay) as well as an excellent view that goes all across the Bay. As you can see, the Atmospheric Opacity (or TAU) existing on the Floor of Gale Crater at the time that the picture was taken, was sensibly high and therefore fit to make almost invisible the distant Inner Rim of Gale, as well as to diffuse a yellowish color all over the visible landscape.

This picture (which is an Original NASA - Mars Exploration Rover - Mars Laboratory "Curiosity" b/w frame published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 16562) 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 near the NASA - Mars Exploration Rover (MER) - Mars Laboratory "Curiosity" and then looked ahead, towards the so-called "Yellowknife Bay" and the far Horizon of Gale Crater), 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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