Astronomy Picture of the Day
October 8, 2014

More South Polar Features of Mars
More South Polar Features of Mars

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 August, 29th, 2014, and during its 56.378th orbit around the Red Planet, we can see, once again, a small part of the South Pole of Mars and, in particular, an unusual (but already well known) Surface Texture. In fact, this frame shows a Linear Surface Texture - typical of the South Polar Cap - which is usually described as looking like a "thumbprint".

Furthermore, even as far as these South Polar Terrain Textures are concerned, we wish to underline that their appearence (and, sometimes, their shape too) change 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. Large Patches of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Ice can be seen on the upper left (Sx) side of the frame, as well as in its lower areas.

Last, but not least, a dark, unusually-looking and relatively small Surface Feature (resembling to a slightly degraded Impact Crater - but we, as IPF, cannot be one hundred percent sure of that) can be seen on the lower right (Dx) side of the picture.

Latitude (centered): 77,7252° South
Longitude (centered): 184,8250° 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 18736) 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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