Astronomy Picture of the Day
April 28, 2013

Features of Jus Chasma
Features of Jus Chasma

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

This image, taken by the NASA - Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in December 2011, shows us a portion of Jus Chasma, a segment of the massive Martian Canyon System known as Vallis Marineris; the most important detail visible in the picture is given by the presence, within the Chasma, of a Fault (which, by the way, it had been previously imaged by the NASA - Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) - Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC).

If you look carefully towards the centre/right (Dx) side of the picture, you will also notice that a small Valley cuts across the Ridge. Planetary Scientists have asked themselves if what we see here could be the final result of the action of some Tectonic Process, and a Study that was carried out about this topic in the AD 2012, suggested that Mars actually possesses Tectonic Plates! However, and even admitting that what has been suggested by the aformentioned Study is actually true, the question about how these processes worked (or are still working, even though in just a "residual way"...) here and, perhaps, elsewhere on the Red Planet, is still unanswered.

Mars Local Time: 14:56 (Early Afternoon)
Coord. (centered): 7,899° South Lat. and 279,399° East Long.
Spacecraft altitude: 287,5 Km (such as about 178,53 miles)
Original image scale range: 28,8 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~ 86 cm across are resolved
Map projected scale: 25 cm/pixel
Emission Angle: 24,3°
Phase Angle: 33,4°
Solar Incidence Angle: 50° (meaning that the Sun was about 40° above the Local Horizon at the time the picture was taken)
Solar Longitude: 43,2° (Northern Spring - Southern Fall)
Credits: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
Additional process. and coloring: Lunar Explorer Italia

This picture (which is a NASA - Original Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter NON_Map Projected CTX b/w frame identified by the serial n. ESP_025231_1720 and a NASA - Original Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter EDM false-color frame identified by the serial n. ESP_025164_1655-1) have been additionally processed and then colorized (and re-colorized, respectively) 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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