Astronomy Picture of the Day
January 20, 2015

Features of the Floor of Gusev Crater
Features of the Floor of Gusev Crater

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 July, 31st, 2002, and during its 3.415th orbit around the Red Planet, we can see, jointly with countless Unnamed Impact Craters of various age and sizes, a number of Windstreaks (one of the most common Aeolian Features of Mars) which are located on the Floor of the very well known Gusev Crater (the last and sandy home of the now decomisssioned NASA - Mars Exploration Rover - or "MER", for short - "Spirit").

Very interesting, in our opinion (as IPF), is the truly remarkable color difference of the Floor which exists between the Northern Portion of this area of Gusev Crater, as compared to the Southern one (in fact, we go from a brown/orange color - North - to a dark gray - South, with light gray nuances in the middle).

A definitive explanation of this color difference cannot be given, however (always in our humble opinion), the action of the strong Dominant Winds which blow all over Gusev Crater could, most likely, be the main reason - and certainly not the only one - of such a contrast.

Latitude (centered): 14,1644° South
Longitude (centered): 175,4240° East
Instrument: VIS

This image (which is an Original Mars Odyssey Orbiter false colors and Map-Projected frame published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 19020) has been additionally processed, magnified to aid the visibility of the details, contrast enhanced and sharpened, Gamma corrected and then re-colorized in Absolute Natural Colors (such as the colors that a normal 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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