Astronomy Picture of the Day
February 10, 2013

On the North Polar Scarp...
On the North Polar Scarp...

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

This image, taken by the NASA - Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in the late November of the AD 2011, was acquired in order to monitor the effects on the North Polar Scarp of the so-called "Frost Avalanches" that occurred the year prior. HiRISE often re-images certain areas of Mars so to track those changes which, over time, might have occurred in some particularly interesting Regions and, in this case, the NASA People wanted to photograph the North Polar Scarp near the onset of the Martian Springtime, so to get a better understanding, among other things, of the number, extent and frequency of these Frost Avalanches; their possible causes (beside the thawing ---> the fact that Ice, Snow, or other frozen substances, start to become liquid, or just soft, as a result of warming) and the role that they have in the evolution of the North Poalr Scarp itself.

It is a fact that, even though the HiRISE has captured the occurrence of many other Frost Avalanches in the past, their view never ceases to amaze, since it demonstrates (but we, as IPF, just like many other Researchers and Scientists all over the World, had no doubts about it) that there still are, even at present time, several Active Geologic and Atmospheric Processes which keep happening (or regular bases) on the Red Planet. And this one, in other words, is just "one of the many"...

Mars Local Time: 12:33 (Early Afternoon)
Coord. (centered): 84,995° North Lat. and 151,528° East Long.
Spacecraft altitude: 320,4 Km (such as about 200,2 miles)
Original image scale range: 32,1 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~ 96 cm across are resolved
Map projected scale: 25 cm/pixel
Emission Angle: 0,5°
Phase Angle: 71,1°
Solar Incidence Angle: 71° (meaning that the Sun was about 19° above the Local Horizon at the time the picture was taken)
Solar Longitude: 35,4° (Northern Spring - Southern Fall)
Credits: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
Additional process. and coloring: Lunar Explorer Italia

This picture (which is a cropped and NON-Map Projected NASA - Original Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter CTX b/w frame, identified by the serial n. ESP_025010_2650) 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 Reconnaissance 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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