Astronomy Picture of the Day
June 10, 2014

North Polar Layers
North Polar Layers

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, 2nd, 2014, and during its 54.558th orbit around the Red Planet, we can see a portion of the Layering (---> actually, it would be better to talk of Layered Deposits) existing at the North Polar Cap of Mars. Such Layering - or, as we wrote herebefore, North Polar Layered Deposits (also "NPLD", for short) - is well visible on the sides of the many sinuous Troughs which were carved, most likely eons ago, into the Ice.

However, and just out of curiosity, the monitoring (that has been so far carried out by several Orbiters) of both the North and South Polar Layered Deposits, has already shown the verification of (minor) changes in the shape and color of the Deposits themselves. In any case - and for now - the cause of these slight, but yet well visible modifications (which some Planetary Scientists relate to a short, but powerful and sudden spillage of Liquid Water, Mud and various Gases - in other words: a Geyser, such as a phenomenon of so-called "Cryo-Volcanism"), are still unknown - or, at least, highly controversial.

Latitude (centered): 81,4902° North
Longitude (centered): 51,9188° East
Instrument: VIS

This image (which is a crop taken from an Original Mars Odyssey Orbiter b/w and Map-Projected frame published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 18480) 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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