Astronomy Picture of the Day
March 5, 2014

Junda and Mount Sharp - Sol 548
Junda and Mount Sharp - Sol 548

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

This (litterally) outstanding Martian Landscape scene (which, actually, is an image-mosaic obtained by the NASA - Mars Exploration Rover (MER) - Mars Laboratory Curiosity) shows us Rows of Layered Rocks in the foreground, and the bright Mount Sharp on the horizon. Curiosity's Navigation Camera (or "NavCam", for short) took the component images that were used to make this mosaic during a pause in its driving, which occurred on the 548th Martian Day, or Sol, of the Rover's work on Mars, at Gale Crater (such as February 19, 2014, on Earth). The drive that took place during the aforementioned Sol 548 covered a distance of about 328 feet (such as a little less than 100 meters).

Images of this area that were taken from orbit and used in planning the NASA - Mars Exploration Rover (MER) - Mars Laboratory Curiosity route toward the Lower Slopes of Mount Sharp had piqued Planetary Researchers' interest in the Striations on the Ground that are formed by these Rows of Layered Rocks; in particular (and just out of curiosity), the large Outcrop that is so well visible here, right in front of the Rover, has been nick-named "Junda". However, more similar Striations are apparent also on other Patches of Ground, all along the planned route toward Mount Sharp's Lower Slopes. The view is centered toward the South-South/East and spans about 160°.

This picture (which is an Original NASA - Mars Exploration Rover (MER) - Mars Laboratory - "Curiosity" b/w image-mosaic published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal and identified by the ID n. PIA 17947) has been additionally processed, reduced in size, Gamma corrected and then colorized - according to an educated guess made by Dr Paolo C. Fiengs/LXTT/IPF, 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 relief known as Mount Sharp), by using an original technique created - and, in time, dramatically improved - by the Lunar Explorer Italia Team.

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