Astronomy Picture of the Day
May 26, 2013

Water-Ice in a Chlorite-bearing Escarpment in North/Western Hellas Planitia (EDM)
Water-Ice in a Chlorite-bearing Escarpment in North/Western Hellas Planitia (EDM)

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

A South-facing Escarpment located in the North/Western part of the Martian Region known as Hellas Planitia (a target that was chosen for the research of Phyllosilicates) showed us the presence, inside the Rocks (---> mostly in their horizontal cracks) forming it, of a pale bluish Material, barely visible in this Absolute Natural Color image. The CRISM Spectra of such Material showed that it consists of a combination of Chlorite and Water Ice. This image was captured by the NASA - Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter during the Southern Martian Winter, such as in the time period when the Southern Hemisphere's South-facing Escarpments (just like this one) of the Red Planet retain Water Ice Deposits that formed during that dark, long and extremely cold Season.

Mars Local Time: 15:36 (Middle Afternoon)
Coord. (centered): 26,501° South Lat. and 55,094° East Long.
Spacecraft altitude: 268,2 Km (such as about 166,552 miles)
Original image scale range: 26,8 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~ 80 cm across are resolved
Map projected scale: 25 cm/pixel
Emission Angle: 18,0°
Phase Angle: 56,7°
Solar Incidence Angle: 69° (meaning that the Sun was about 21° above the Local Horizon at the time the picture was taken)
Solar Longitude: 131,4° (Northern Summer - Southern Winter)
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 false color EDM frame identified by the serial n. ESP_027758_1530-1) has been additionally processed, magnified to aid the visibility of the details, contrast enhanced and then re-colorized 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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