Astronomy Picture of the Day
April 4, 2013

Cydonian Cones
Cydonian Cones

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

This observation, carried out by the NASA - Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on December, 30, 2011, focuses on an unusually high density of Cratered Cones, which had been already imaged by the NASA - Mar Global Surveyor (Mars Orbiter Camera) Spacecraft a few years ago. These Cones, located in the Northern Martian Region known as Cydonia, could possibly be Mud Volcanos. On Earth, a large number of these formations are found in Gobustan, Azerbaijan and in the Caspian Sea. But if the Surface Features visible here, on Mars, are really Mud Volcanoes, then we should ask ourselves what physical (---> Geological) processes created them; but, unfortunately, an answer to this question, for the time being, cannot be given. Notice that at HiRISE resolution, it is possible to look for subtle Flow Features (located on the sides of the Cones) and then compare them with other similar Cratered Cones which are found elsewhere on the Red Planet.

Mars Local Time: 14:43 (Early Afternoon)
Coord. (centered): 40,758° North Lat. and 352,570° East Long.
Spacecraft altitude: 299,6 Km (such as about 186,05 miles)
Original image scale range: 30,0 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~ 90 cm across are resolved
Map projected scale: 25 cm/pixel
Emission Angle: 1,9°
Sun-Mars-Spacecraft (or Phase) Angle: 42,8°
Solar Incidence Angle
: 41° (meaning that the Sun was about 49° above the Local Horizon at the time the picture was taken)
Solar Longitude: 50,4° (Northern Spring - Southern Fall)
Credits: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

This picture (which is an Original Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter b/w CTX frame, identified by the serial n. ESP_025439_2210) has been additionally processed and then colorized in Absolute Natural Colors (such as the colors that an average 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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