Astronomy Picture of the Day
November 2, 2014

Unnnamed Craters in Elysium Planitia
Unnnamed Craters in Elysium Planitia

Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona - Credits for the additional process. and color.: Dr Paolo C. Fienga/Lunar Explorer Italia/IPF

This image, taken by the NASA - Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on March, 30, 2014, shows us an Unnamed Impact Crater (located on the Edge of a bigger one) that was cut by a Lava Flow in the Elysium Planitia Region of Mars. The (relatively) flat, shallow Floor, rough Surface Texture, and possible Cooling Cracks seem to indicate that the smaller Crater was partially filled with Lava. Furthermore, the Northern part of the image shows a more extensive Lava Flow Deposit that surrounds the Ejecta Blanket of the largest Impact Crater visible here.

We have seen in the past quite a few evidences of Lava Flows that, in this specific Region of Mars, in fact, flowed up to much higher levels than the present Surface Level (---> Datum, or zero altitude); then they deflated (or drained away) and this is what it might have happened here: the Lava flowed from North to South so to fill the smaller Crater, and then it drained back to the North, carving a small Channel into it.

Mars Local Time: 15:22 (Early Afternoon)
Coord. (centered): 2,347° North Lat. and 156,789° East Long.
Spacecraft altitude: 273,4 Km (such as about 169,781 miles)
Original image scale range: 27,4 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binningso objects ~ 82 cm across are resolved
Map projected scale: 25 cm/pixel
Emission Angle: 5,8°
Phase Angle: 58,2°
Solar Incidence Angle: 53° (meaning that the Sun was about 37° above the Local Horizon at the time the picture was taken)
Solar Longitude: 109,3° (Northern Summer - Southern Winter)
Credits: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
Additional process. and coloring: Lunar Explorer Italia

This picture (which is a crop taken from a NASA - Original Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter b/w and NON-Map Projected Sub-frame identified by the serial n. ESP_035969_1825) has been additionally processed, increased in size to help the visibility of the details, contrast enhanced, Gamma corrected, and then re-colorized in Absolute Natural Colors (such as the colors that a human eye would actually perceive if someone were onboard the NASA - Mars Reconnaissance 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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