Astronomy Picture of the Day
January 1, 2014

Lava Plate near Athabasca Valles
Lava Plate near Athabasca Valles

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, 11th, 2013, and during its 52.813th orbit around the Red Planet, we can see, in the proximities of the Outflow Channel known as Athabasca Valles (---> one of the youngest known Martian Outflow Channels, which probably formed only in a Geologically recent - always relatively speaking... - past of the Red Planet), a - most likely - really thin Plate of solidified Lava.

This kind of Lava Flow is very different from the (very many) other ones which can be found in the neighbouring Elysium and Tharsis Volcanic Complexes, and these "unusually-looking" thin Flows are the (still) visible and undisputable proof of the occurrence of a substantially different Type of Volcanism (if and when compared to the one that took place in the two aforementioned - and most "Classic", in a manner of speaking... - Volcanic Districts of Mars).

Latitude (centered): 6,589° North
Longitude (centered): 155,034° 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 17818) 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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