Astronomy Picture of the Day
June 11, 2013

Active Slope-Flows on the Central Hills of Hale Crater (CTX Frame)
Active Slope-Flows on the Central Hills of Hale Crater (CTX Frame)

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

The HiRISE Camera onboard the NASA - Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has been monitoring many Martian steep Slopes because some of them seem to reveal the existence of active (---> ongoing) Geologic Processes. As a matter of fact, Planetary Scientists have found, in quite a few Martian locations, the presence of many Seasonal Flows, all located on steep warm Slopes, and such a circumstance suggested that Water might still play a role in their formation's activity.

For instance, the Central Hills existing inside Hale Crater (and visible here, in today's APOD) are one of the aforementioned locations, with thousands of Seasonal Flows occuring on their steep Slopes (precisely, just below Bedrock Outcrops). These Flow-lines grow slowly over a period of several months, then they fade and disappear in the cold season (Southern Winter in this case); afterwards, they start forming again during the next warm seasons (such as, still in this case, the Southern Spring and Summer).

Mars Local Time: 14:40 (Early Afternoon)
Coord. (centered): 35,672° South Lat. and 323,484° East Long.
Spacecraft altitude: 264,4 Km (such as about 164,192 miles)
Original image scale range: 26,4 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~ 79 cm across are resolved
Map projected scale: 25 cm/pixel
Emission Angle: 13,9°
Phase Angle: 23,5°
Solar Incidence Angle: 37° (meaning that the Sun was about 53° above the Local Horizon at the time the picture was taken)
Solar Longitude: 287,7° (Northern Winter - Southern Summer)
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_031203_1440) 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 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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