Astronomy Picture of the Day
December 4, 2014

Dust-free Terrain in Arabia Terra
Dust-free Terrain in Arabia Terra

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

Arabia Terra, as you know, is one of the oldest and more Dusty Regions of Mars, where the (almost) ever-falling red/orange Dust continuously covers the Surface and therefore allows only minor variations in the global color and tone of the Region to occur and be perceived.

One exception to this Regional characteristic is when Wind-driven, dark-toned Sand moves across the Surface and ejects the bright Dust into the Lower Atmosphere of Mars, so to reveal the dark/gray - and Dust-free - Surface existing below this thick mantle of Material (Dust, as we said, and, most likely, Ashes and Atmospherical Particulate). In this picture, taken by the NASA - Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on August, 13, 2014, we can see some of the aforementioned dark/gray Terrain that is underneath that mantle of Dust and other Materials which covers most of the Region.

Mars Local Time: 15:44 (Middle Afternoon)
Coord. (centered): 13,272° North Lat. and 36,517° East Long.
Spacecraft altitude: 278,0 Km (such as about 172,638 miles)
Original image scale range: 27,8 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binningso objects ~ 83 cm across are resolved
Map projected scale: 25 cm/pixel
Emission Angle: 2,3°
Phase Angle: 54,6°
Solar Incidence Angle: 57° (meaning that the Sun was about 33° above the Local Horizon at the time the picture was taken)
Solar Longitude: 177,5° (Northern Summer - Southern Winter)
Credits: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
Additional process. and coloring: Lunar Explorer Italia

This picture (which is a NASA - Original Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter False Colors and NON Map-Projected sub-frame identified by the serial n. ESP_037714_1935-1) has been additionally processed, magnified to aid 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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