Astronomy Picture of the Day
January 10, 2014

Features of the Eastern Flank of Sapas Mons
Features of the Eastern Flank of Sapas Mons

Credits: NASA/JPL - Magellan Project - Credits for the additional process. and color.: Dr Paolo C. Fienga/LXTT/IPF

This NASA - Magellan Spacecraft's image - centered near 9,6° North Latitude and 189,5° East Longitude - covers an area of approx. 140 Km (such as about 86,94 miles) by approx. 110 Km (such as aabout 68,31 miles) and shows us part of the Eastern Flank of the Venusian Volcano known as Sapas Mons, which is located on the Western Edge of Atla Regio.

The bright Lobate Surface Features visible along the Southern and Western portions of the image, oriented in a North/East to South/West directions, are huge Lava Flows. These Flows range, in width, from approx. 5 to 25 Km (such as from about 3,1 to 15,525 miles), with lengths going from about 50 to approx. 100 Km (such as from about 31,05 to 62,1 miles), and they seem to extend themselves way off the area shown here. Additional Radar-Dark (---> Smooth) Flows are also present. The Radar-Bright Linear Structures found in the North/Western portion of the frame are interpreted to be (relatively) shallow Faults and Fractures, which could possibly be associated with the emplacement of Magma in the Sub-Surface.

Furthermore, located near the center of the image, there is an Impact Crater whose diameter is roughly 20 Km (such as about 12,42 miles). This Impact Crater is superimposed on a North/East-to-South/West trending Fracture, while the Southern Side of the Crater's Ejecta Blanket is covered by an approx. 6 Km (such as about 3,72 miles) wide Radar-Bright Lava Flow. These (just apparently) complicated relations indicate that the Crater post-dates an episode of Fracturing and that is older than the Lava Flows covering its Southern Edge.

Last, but not least, this is one of only a few places on Venus where an Impact Crater is seen to be covered by Volcanic Deposits.

This frame (which is an Original NASA - Magellan Spacecraft Radio-Image-Mosaic published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the n. PIA 00099), since it is just a Radio-Image of the Venusian Surface and NOT a real view of it, has been colorized, according to an educated guess carried out by Dr Paolo C. Fienga (LXTT-IPF), in what they could reasonably be its possible Absolute Natural Colors (such as the colors that a human eye would perceive if someone were onboard the NASA - Magellan Spacecraft and, once the thick layer of Venusian Clouds and Fogs is completely overcome, looked down, towards the Surface of Venus itself), by using an original technique created - and, in time, dramatically improved - by the Lunar Explorer Italia Team.

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