Astronomy Picture of the Day
November 22, 2014

Magnificent Desolation (1)
Magnificent Desolation (1)

Credits: NASA/JPL - Viking 1 Project - Credits for the additional process. and color.: Dr Paolo C. Fienga/LXTT/IPF

Just watch and enjoy: the Time might make us forget, but it cannot erase...

This picture of Mars was taken on July 21st, 1977 - such as the day following the Viking One Lander's successful descent on the Red Planet. The Local Time (Mars Local Time, or "MLT", for short) on Chryse Planitia at the time when this picture was taken was approximately noon (---> midday) and the view looks toward the South/East of the Lander. Orange-red Surface Materials cover most of the visible Plain, apparently forming a veneer (---> a VERY thin covering of extremely fine Dust) over the darker Bedrock which is, here and there, exposed in small Patches (like as in the lower right - Dx - of the frame).

The aforementioned orange-reddish Surface Materials might have beeen Limonite (---> Hydrated Ferric Oxide). Such "Weathering Mineral Product" may also form on Earth, in the presence of Water and an Oxidizing Atmosphere. The Sky has a pale blue/gray/orange-reddish cast, probably due to the Scattering and Reflection of the incoming Sunlight from some microscopic reddish Sediment suspended in the Lower Atmosphere existing - at that time - over Chryse Planitia.

This picture (which is an Original b/w Image obtained by the NASA - Lander Viking One on July, 21, 1977, and identified by the ID n. 12e189) has been additionally processed, magnified in order to help the visibility of the Landscape's details, Gamma corrected and then colorized in Absolute Natural Colors (such as the colors that a normal - in the average - human eye would actually perceive if someone were on the Surface of Mars, near the NASA - Mars Lander Viking One, and then looked ahead, towards the Horizon and the Sky above Chryse Planitia), by using an original technique created - and, in time, dramatically improved - by the Lunar Explorer Italia Team.

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