Astronomy Picture of the Day
November 18, 2013

Aeolian Features in Syrtis Major Planum
Aeolian Features in Syrtis Major Planum

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 September, 24th, 2013, and during its 52.254th orbit around the Red Planet, we can see (an count) a series of at least 8 (eight) Windstreaks (probably the most common Aeolian - meaning Wind-caused/related - Surface Feature found on Mars), which are located in the (VERY dark, as far as its Albedo - Reflectivity - is concerned) Region known as Syrtis Major Planum.

Syrtis Major Planum - when observed through a telescope - looks like a "Dark Spot" (---> Albedo Feature) located at the Boundary between the Northern Lowlands and Southern Highlands of Mars, just West of the large Impact Basin known as Isidis Planitia. In fact, Syrtis Major Planum was discovered, on the base of data collected by the NASA - Mars Global Surveyor Orbiter, to be a low-relief Shield Volcano, when it was formerly believed to be just a Plain (and it was then known as Syrtis Major Planitia). The very dark color of its Surface comes - most likely - from the Basaltic Volcanic Rocks that form (---> are found all over) the Region and a corresponding (and relative) lack of the Red/Orange Dust that covers most of the Red Planet.

Latitude (centered): 5,90248° North
Longitude (centered): 69,73730° East
Instrument: VIS

This image (which is an Original Mars Odyssey Orbiter b/w and Map-Projected frame published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 17683) 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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