Astronomy Picture of the Day
June 8, 2014

Summer in the North Polar Erg
Summer in the North Polar Erg

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 April, 1st, 2014, and during its 54.555th orbit around the Red Planet, we can see, once again, a small portion of the "North Polar Erg" (---> Sea of Dunes) that encircles the North Polar Ice Cap of Mars. As a matter of fact, now that the Martian Summer has arrived in the Northern Hemisphere of the Red Planet, the Dunes forming the North Polar Erg have already shed (---> lost, because of the occurrence of sublimation and/or evaporation) most of all their Winter Frost.

Furthermore, with the Winter Frost alreday largely gone, as we wrote hereabove, the true shape of the Dunes is now extremely well defined and the Dominant Color of the Erg itself appears to be, to the average human eye (and with the exception of some very small areas - visible here to the Right (Dx), as well as to the lower central portion of the frame), very close to a dark Reddish/Brown.

Latitude (centered): 81,1207° North
Longitude (centered): 140,0610° East
Instrument: VIS

This image (which is a crop taken from an Original Mars Odyssey Orbiter b/w and NON Map-Projected frame published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 18268) has been additionally processed, magnified to aid the visibility of the details, contrast enhanced and sharpened, 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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