Astronomy Picture of the Day
April 18, 2013

Sutton Inlier - Sol 174
Sutton Inlier - Sol 174

Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/ASU and Dr Paolo C. Fienga/LXTT/IPF for the additional process, and color.

This frame, which was taken by the Mast Camera (MastCam) onboard the NASA - Mars Exploration Rover (MER) - Mars Laboratory "Curiosity", shows us some very interesting colors which were found inside a Rock called "Sutton Inlier": a relatively small Rock that was broken by the Rover itself, while driving over it.

The MastCam took this image during the 174th Martian Day, or Sol, of the Rover's work at Gale Crater - Mars (such as January 31, 2013 on Earth). The Rock is about 5" - inches - (such as 12,7 centimeters) wide at the end closest to the camera. The inside of the Rock, which is found in the "Yellowknife Bay" area of Gale Crater, shows us a color that lies in between from a light gray to a very pale blue, and without traces of orange or red (the colors that, as you know, are the typical ones that characterize almost all the exposed - to the Martian Open Environment - Dusty and/or Rocky Materials and Surfaces).

This picture (which is an Original NASA - Mars Exploration Rover - Mars Laboratory "Curiosity" natural"color frame published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 16804) 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 near the NASA - Mars Exploration Rover (MER) - Mars Laboratory "Curiosity" and then looked ahead, towards the Rock dubbed "Sutton Inlier", which is located in front of the Rover), by using an original technique created - and, in time, dramatically improved - by the Lunar Explorer Italia Team. Different colors, as well as different shades of the same color, mean, among other things, the existence of different Elements (Minerals) present on the Surface of Gale Crater, each having a different Albedo (---> Reflectivity) and Chemical Composition.

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