Astronomy Picture of the Day
September 21, 2014

Features of the South Polar Cap of Mars (Part III)
Features of the South Polar Cap of Mars (Part III)

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 September, 6th, 2014, and during its 56.475th orbit around the Red Planet, we can see, once again, a small part of the South Polar Cap of Mars and, in particular, an unusual (but already well known) Surface Texture. The Circular Depressions visible almost all over the frame (and, in particular, towards the lower South-Eastern side of it), actually look like "Swiss Cheese" and that is why this peculiar kind of Surface Texture is commonly known as "Swiss Cheese-like Terrain".

Useless to say, their appearence (and, sometimes, their shape) changes from year to year (as a matter of fact, from month to month), thus proving the existence of Atmospherical and Chemical Processes that are still ongoing at the South Pole of Mars.

Latitude (centered): 86,6500° South
Longitude (centered): 355,1170° 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 18715) 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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