Astronomy Picture of the Day
March 19, 2013

Gullies in Gasa Crater
Gullies in Gasa Crater

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

The so-called "Gully Landforms" - just like the ones shown here, in this NASA - Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter image - can often be found in the Inner Rims (or even below, along the Inner Slopes) of many Impact Craters that are located at the Martian Mid-Latitudes. Some changes in these Gully Landforms were first seen in frames taken by the NASA - Mars Global Surveyor - Mars Orbiter Camera (MGS-MOC) in the AD 2006, and studying such activity has been a high priority for HiRISE ever since (and, in fact, many examples of New Deposits located inside Gully Landforms are now well known).

This frame shows a New Deposit inside some Gully Landforms located on the Inner Rim of Gasa Crater; a very (relatively speaking) "fresh" approx. 7-Km diameter Impact Crater that is found in the Southern Mid-Latitudes of the Red Planet (to be precise, at 35,72° South Latitude and 129.45° East Longitude). Said New Deposit appears of a distinctive gray color, with some patches of white Material too, in this Absolute Natural Color version of the NASA - Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter image n. ESP_020661_1440. The picture was acquired during the Southern Spring of Mars, but the Flow that formed the Deposit occurred in the preceding Winter.

As a matter of fact, the current Gully Activities appear to be concentrated in periods going from the late Winter to the early Spring of Mars, and this circumstance may be a consequence of the Sublimation of the Seasonal Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Frost (which, by the way, is well visible in several Gully "Alcoves" during Wintertime).

Mars Local Time: 15:49 (Middle Afternoon)
Coord. (centered): 35,729° North Lat. and 129,386° East Long.
Spacecraft altitude: 258,2 Km (such as about 160,3 miles)
Original image scale range: 25,8 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~ 78 cm across are resolved
Map projected scale: 25 cm/pixel
Emission Angle: 11,0°
Sun-Mars-Spacecraft (or Phase) Angle: 47,6°
Solar Incidence Angle
: 58° (meaning that the Sun was about 32° above the Local Horizon at the time the picture was taken)
Solar Longitude: 203,7° (Northern Fall - Southern Spring)
Credits: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
Additional process. and coloring: Lunar Explorer Italia

This picture (which is an Original Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter EDM enhanced color frame, identified by the serial n. ESP_020661_1440) has been additionally processed and then re-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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