Astronomy Picture of the Day
March 21, 2013

Unnamed Complex Venusian Crater
Unnamed Complex Venusian Crater

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

The NASA - Magellan Spacecraft imaged this multiple-Floored, highly Irregular Impact Crater at Latitude 16,4° North and Longitude 352,1° East, during its 481st and 482nd orbits around the Planet Venus (on Earth, it was September, 27, 1990). This Impact Crater, about 9,2 Km (such as approx. 5,7 miles) in maximum diameter, was formed on what appears to be a slightly fractured, radar-dark (---> smooth) Venusian Plain. The abundant, low viscosity Flows associated with this Impact Event have, however, filled local Fault-controlled Troughs (---> Graben). These shallow Grabens are well portrayed on this Magellan image but they would have been unrecognizable if they had not (coincidentally) been infillled by the radar-bright Crater Flows.

This fortuitous enhancement by the Crater Flows - of Fault Structures - that were below the resolution capacity of the Magellan Synthetic Aperture Radar provided the Magellan Science Team with valuable Geologic information. For instance, the Flow Deposits from this Impact Crater are now thought to consist - primarily - of "Shock Melted Rock" (---> such as a remarkable quantity of almost liquid rocky material that got pushed away and outwards by the powerful shock-wave/s that followed the original Impact Event/s) and Fragmented Debris resulting from the nearly simultaneous impacts of 2 (two) projectile fragments into the hot (---> approx. 426° Celsius - or about 800 degrees Farheneit) Surface Rocks of Venus. On the other hand, the presence of various Floors in this highly Irregular Impact Crater is interpreted to be the result of Crushing, Fragmentation, and eventual Aerodynamic Dispersion of a single entry projectile (---> meteor) during its passage through the dense Venusian Atmosphere.

This frame (which is an Original NASA - Magellan Spacecraft Radio-Image published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the n. PIA 00462), since it is just a Radio-Image of the Venusian Surface and NOT a real view of it, has been colorized, according to an educated guess carried out by Dr Paolo C. Fienga (LXTT-IPF), in what they could reasonably be its possible Absolute Natural Colors (such as the colors that a human eye would perceive if someone were onboard the NASA - Magellan Spacecraft and, once the thick layer of Venusian Clouds and Fogs is completely overcome, looked down, towards the Surface of Venus itself), by using an original technique created - and, in time, dramatically improved - by the Lunar Explorer Italia Team.

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