Astronomy Picture of the Day
October 4, 2013

Martian Glacier (CTX Frame)
Martian Glacier (CTX Frame)

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

Planetary Scientists, today, know that Mars has (both on its Surface and Sub-Surface - as well as deep down, under the Crust) a lot more Water Ice than once they thought or expected to be. In fact, many so-called "Lobate Surface Features" are now known to be almost pure Water Ice, like it is for Glaciers on our Home Planet Earth. Unfortunately, though, we still do not know for sure if these Martian Water Ice Deposits actually "flow", somehow, just like it happens for the Earth's Glaciers. As a matter of fact, if we knew how fast they flow (of course, if they do it at all!), we could easierly and better understand what is going on in the Climate of Mars today, and how it has changed (and we do believe so) over time.

This contextual (CTX) image shows one of these Icy Lobate Surface Features wrapping around a small Hill. It you look at the picture very carefully, you might notice that there is an extremely unusual Texture (better visible in tomorrow's EDM) on the Ice, located just at the base of this Hill; a Texture that Planetary Scientist have nicknamed "Brain Terrain". It is possible that this really strange-looking Surface Texture might be related to the flowing of the Water Ice, but, as of today, we still do not have a definite (and, of course, duly and fully substantiated) explanation for this Martian Mystery.

Mars Local Time: 14:14 (Early Afternoon)
Coord. (centered): 39,347° North Lat. and 24,704° East Long.
Spacecraft altitude: 303,0 Km (such as about 188,163 miles)
Original image scale range: 30,3 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binningso objects ~ 91 cm across are resolved
Map projected scale: 25 cm/pixel
Emission Angle: 9,6°
Phase Angle: 54,4°
Solar Incidence Angle: 46° (meaning that the Sun was about 44° above the Local Horizon at the time the picture was taken)
Solar Longitude: 11,4° (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 b/w and NON-Map Projected frame identified by the serial n. ESP_033165_2195) has been additionally processed, magnified, contrast enhanced, Gamma corrected, 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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