Astronomy Picture of the Day
April 1, 2013

Features of the North Polar Erg
Features of the North Polar Erg

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

The highly suggestive Dunefield visible in this VIS image taken by the NASA - Mars Odyssey Orbiter during its 46719th orbit around the Red Planet is just a small portion of the gigantic Dunefield (or "Erg" ---> Sea of Sand) that encircles most part of the North Pole of Mars. The bright round spot visible on the lower left (Sx) side of the frame should be just a patch of permanent ice which is located (and therefore, somehow, protected) inside a relatively shallow depression of the Surface - possibly (but we have no way to be sure), an almost rimless and very old Impact Crater.


Latitude (centered): 80,0896° North
Longitude (centered): 194,1910° East
Instrument: VIS
Captured: June, 26th, 2012


This frame (which is an Original Mars Odyssey Orbiter b/w frame published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 15943) 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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