Astronomy Picture of the Day
October 7, 2013

Chaotic Terrain and Dark Slope Streaks
Chaotic Terrain and Dark Slope Streaks

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 August 8th, 2013, and during its 51.688th orbit around the Red Planet, we can see, almost all around a relatively small and Unnamed Impact Crater (let's say, just to be more precise, from about 1 to 8 o'clock of the Crater), an area of Chaotic Terrain (mostly made of Rocky Blocks which are positioned next to one another) and, more to the right (Dx), just on the (obviously overexposed, in this picture) steep Slopes of a Ridge (located to the East of Mangala Valles), a good number of Dark Slope Streaks.

One theory about the origin of these Streaks is that the downslope movement of Rocks and Boulders - all positioned on the very Edge of the Ridge (or, perhaps, also on the Slopes themselves) -, cleared (---> cleaned up) the very bright Dust which covered the Slopes and revealed the underlying dark Surface. The reason of the aforementioned downslope movement of Rocks, Boulders (and, most likely, other Rocky Debris) can be reasonably found in the verification of a phenomenon of "Gravity Wasting" (an event, this latter one, which could have well been triggered by the occurrence of slight Seismic Waves or, maybe, by a strong vibration of the Ground that was caused by an Impact which occurred in the proximities of - or, however, not too far away from - the Ridge itself).

Latitude (centered): 17,0589° South
Longitude (centered): 211,3940° East
Instrument: VIS

This frame (which is a crop taken from an Original Mars Odyssey Orbiter b/w frame published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 17512) 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 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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