Astronomy Picture of the Day
January 6, 2013

Snake River - Sol 133
Snake River - Sol 133

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

The sinuous Rock Feature visible in the lower center and left (Sx) side of this mosaic of frames recorded by the NASA - Mars Exploration Rover (MER) - Mars Laboratory "Curiosity" has been nicknamed "Snake River" (and we honestly believe that, once you notice the actual physical configuration of the Rocky Feature that is now under a - relatively - close observation, the reason of the nickname will result more than obvious...). 

The images forming the mosaic were taken by Curiosity's Navigation Camera (NavCam) during the 133rd Martian Day, or Sol, of the Rover's Mission in Gale Crater - Mars (such as December, 20th, 2012). On Sol 147 (such as January, 3rd, 2013), the NASA - Mars Exploration Rover (MER) - Mars Laboratory "Curiosity" drove about 10 feet (approx. 3 meters) to get a closer look at "Snake River", before proceeding to watch, photograph and then examine other Rocky Features located in the same area as well as in other areas nearby.

This picture (which is an Original NASA - Mars Exploration Rover - Mars Laboratory "Curiosity" b/w image-mosaic published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 16564) 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 Rocky Surface Feature called "Snake River", the Rocky Paving located in front of and around the Rover, as well as the more distant 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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