Astronomy Picture of the Day
July 23, 2013

Arabian Triplet
Arabian Triplet

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

In this VIS image, taken by the NASA - Mars Odyssey Orbiter on December, 23, 2011 and during its 44.464th orbit around the Red Planet, we can see a group of three different-sized Impact Craters located in Arabia Terra: a large Upland Region in the Northern Hemisphere of Mars which lies mostly in the Arabia Quadrangle. Arabia Terra is densely cratered and heavily eroded. This Battered Topography indicates great age and, in fact, Arabia Terra is presumed to be one of the oldest Terrains existing on the Red Planet. Arabia Terra covers a Surface of approx. 4500 Km (such as about 2794,5 miles) at its longest extent, and it is centered roughly at 19° 47' North Latitude and 30° 00' East Longitude, with its Eastern and Southern portions rising up to about km (approx 2,484 miles) above the Datum (---> Zero Altitude).

Arabia Terra was so named in the AD 1979, after a corresponding so-called "Classical Albedo Feature" (once again identified and mapped by the Italian Astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli, who named this Martian Region after the Arabian Peninsula). A deeper research about Arabia Terra was then undertaken in the AD 1997, and the individuality of the Province was afterwards quite better defined. In particular, an "Equatorial Belt" was noted, jointly with an average Crater Age that was distinctly younger than both the average Crater Age of its Northern portion and the one of the Province of Noachis Terra, to the South. This circumstance was interpreted as a possible "Incipient Back-Arc System", possibly provoked by the subduction of the Martian Lowlands under the Region of Arabia Terra: a Geological Event which might have occurred during the Noachian Times. Many Regional Fracture Patterns were also explained in this manner, but the slight Rotational Instability of the Red Planet as a possible cause of said phenomenon, was (and it still) not supported.

Latitude (centered): 27,6878° North
Longitude (centered): 43,2049° East
Instrument: VIS

This frame (which is an Original Mars Odyssey Orbiter b/w frame published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 17322) has been additionally processed, magnified, contrast enhanced 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 Odyssey 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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