Astronomy Picture of the Day
January 31, 2014

Looking at 'Dingo Gap' - Sol 526 (Part I)
Looking at 'Dingo Gap' - Sol 526 (Part I)

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

This image-mosaic combines several frames taken by the Left-Eye Camera of the Mast Camera (or "MastCam", for short) Instrument located onboard the NASA - Mars Exploration Rover (MER) - Mars Laboratory Curiosity during the middle afternoon hours (such as in between 15:30 and 17:30 Mars Local Solar Time), of the 526th Martian Day, or Sol (such as January, 28, 2014) of the Mission.

The Main Feature, which can be barely seen here, and that is located towards the right (Dx) side of the picture (which, you have to consider, is only the first, left half of the whole panorama), is a relatively large Sand Dune which divides a gap - nicknamed "Dingo Gap" - between two very short Scarps. The aforementioned Sand Dune is about 3 feet (approx. 0,91 meters) high. The nearer (as to the Rover) edge of the Dune is about 115 feet (such as a very little more than 35 meters) away from the MER's position (at the time when the component images of this mosaic were taken, just after a drive of about 49 feet - such as a little less than 15 meters). However, this Main Feature will be better - and fully - visible in tomorrow's APOD.

Note: the Rim of Gale Crater, as you can see, strangely appears of a pale green/bluish color. Now, this extremely unusal chromatic effect might be due - probably and in our opinion, as IPF - to the presence and combination, in the lowest Strata of the Martian Atmosphere, as it is at the level of the Floor of Gale Crater, of suspended micro-particles of gray/bluish Water-Ice and Water Vapor, yellowish and brown Ashes, transparent Atmospheric Particulate and a red/orange, really fine, Dust

This picture (which is one half of an Original NASA - Mars Exploration Rover (MER) - Mars Laboratory - "Curiosity" White-Balanced image-mosaic published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal and identified by the ID n. PIA 17766) has been additionally processed, reduced in size, Gamma corrected and then re-colorized in Absolute Natural Colors (such as the colors that a normal - meaning "in the average" - human eye would actually perceive if someone were on the Surface of Mars, near the NASA - Mars Exploration Rover (MER) - Mars Laboratory Curiosity, and then looked ahead, towards the Rim of Gale Crater), by using an original technique created - and, in time, dramatically improved - by the Lunar Explorer Italia Team.

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