Astronomy Picture of the Day
January 5, 2013

Collapse Features' Collection
Collapse Features' Collection

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

Even today's APOD image was taken by the NASA - Mars Odyssey Orbiter, this time during its 47.952nd Orbit, and it shows us a small fraction of the unbelievably compllicated Network of Collapse Features (Pits, Pit-Chains, Channels and Fissures) which are located on the Northern Flank of the Martian Volcano known as Ascreaus Mons (a large Shield Volcano located in the Tharsis Region of the Red Planet). Ascraeus Mons is the Northernmost and tallest of the 3 (three) Shield Volcanoes collectively known as the Tharsis Montes,being the other two huge Volcanoes known as Pavonis and Arsia Mons (if you wish to have an orbital vision of all these three fascinating Volcanoes, as well as a portion of the Noctis Labyrinthus Region of Mars, please go to Archive and refer to the APOD of February, 14th, 2012). Out of curiosity, Ascraeus Mons' location corresponds to the so-called "Classical Albedo Feature" which was known as Ascraeus Lacus.

Ascraeus Mons was actually discovered by the NASA - Mariner 9 Spacecraft in 1971. This enormous Volcano, however, was originally just called "North Spot", since it was the Northernmost of the only 4 (four) "Spots" (---> Reliefs) visible on the whole Surface of Mars which, at that time (and due to a Global Dust Storm), looked completely featureless from the orbit. As the Dust cleared, the abovementioned "Spots" were revealed to be extremely tall Shield Volcanoes whose Summits stood above the Dust-flooded, Lower Atmosphere. The Volcano's name officially became Ascraeus Mons in 1973.

Latitude: 13,6538° North
Longitude: 257,429° East
Instrument: VIS
Captured: October, 5th, 2012

This frame (which is an Original Mars Odyssey Orbiter b/w frame published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 16647) 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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