Astronomy Picture of the Day
July 17, 2014

North Polar Dunes and Dunefields (Part II - EDM)
North Polar Dunes and Dunefields (Part II - EDM)

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, which is an Extra-Magnified sub-crop obtained from an Original frame taken by the NASA - Mars Odyssey Orbiter on April, 22nd, 2014, and during its 54.806th orbit around the Red Planet, we can see an extremely interesting, bright and unusually-looking Surface Feature, of unknown origin, that is located very close to the upper margin of the Landscape, near the right (Dx) corner of the Main Picture (such as the one shown in yesterday's APOD).


What is it? Nobody can tell for sure so far.


However, the most unusual detail which characterizes this specif Surface Feature (besides its "Triangular Shape" and extreme brightness - as compared to the average - and low - Albedo of its surroundings), can be found in the circumstance that the Feature itself "seems" to be located on top of the Dunes, and not in an empty space among them (in fact, one Dune is clearly "cut" by the "base" of the Triangular Feature, whatever it might be). Anyway, if you look at the its shadowed side (Dx - East), as well as at to the shadow that it projects on the Ground, it may also be some kind of a Monolith, similar (VERY silmilar!) to the one found on Phobos.


Of course, all this must be just the final result of an optical illusion (we, as IPF, always try to be pragmatic, no matter how strange are some of the "things" we see) and therefore we can conclude, pragmatically speaking (actually, pragmatically writing...), that we are just looking at an unusually-shaped Rocky Outcrop, or - maybe - at the Rocky Paving that lies underneath the Dunes found in this area of the North Polar Regions of Mars. One day, for sure, we shall know more. But for now...that is it.


If you have any (additional, and maybe better) insight that you wish to share with us, please write at alphacentauri@intercom.it.


Latitude (centered): 77,9098° North
Longitude (centered): 109,2820° East
Instrument: VIS


This image (which is a sub-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 18505) 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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