Astronomy Picture of the Day
January 26, 2015

Fresh Impact in Elysium Planitia (EDM)
Fresh Impact in Elysium Planitia (EDM)

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

This Extra Detail Magnification (or "EDM", for short) which was obtained from a Contextual Image, taken by the NASA - Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on December, 2, 2014, shows us a new (---> VERY fresh) and relatively (actually, VERY!) small Impact Crater located in the Martian Volcanic Region known as in Elysium Planitia. This new Impact Feature, which was first discovered by the Mars Context Camera ("CTX", also located onboard the NASA - Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter), formed, most likely, between the month of February of the AD 2012 and the month of June 2014. The Impact Event appears here as a very Dark Streak, with multiple Secondary Craters, which was/were not seen in any previous CTX image of this specific area.

The HiRISE Camera commonly monitors new Impacts on Mars, such as this one; however, this Contextual Image that we proposed you in yesterday's APOD, is the first CTX image of this particular Impact Crater ever shown by HiRISE. The image also shows us a very distinct (---> peculiarly looking) Crater Rim and Ejecta Blanket that is much darker than the surrounding Dust-covered Terrain. The distribution of the Rayed Ejecta suggests that the Impactor struck the Surface of Elysium Planitia at a high angle, while coming from the West.

Last, but not leat, the Viewers who possess a VERY acute eyesight, may realize (once they watch the picture at its full size) that there is a tiny (but well visible) bluish recflection on the right (Dx) side (---> Wall) of the small Impact Crater that is still illuminated by the Sun. This circumstance, if and once confirmed by NASA, could be an additional (and even visual, in this case) proof (as a matter of fact, just one of the many) that, right under the Surface (---> to be more correct: the Sub-Surface) of Mars, there are still large quantities of Water Ice which, from time to time, are brought to light by - even modest - Impact Events. EVEN in Volcanic Areas! Think about it...

Mars Local Time: 15:17 (Early Afternoon)
Coord. (centered): 18,012° North Lat. and 138,662° East Long.
Spacecraft altitude: 282,4 Km (such as about 175,3704 miles)
Original image scale range: 28,3 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binningso objects85 cm across are resolved (with 1 x 1 binning)
Map projected scale: 25 cm/pixel
Emission Angle: 5,2°
Phase Angle: 67,7°
Solar Incidence Angle: 63° (meaning that the Sun was about 27° above the Local Horizon at the time the picture was taken)
Solar Longitude: 245,1° (Northern Fall - Southern Spring)
Credits: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
Additional process. and coloring: Lunar Explorer Italia

This picture (which is an EDM obtained from a NASA - Original Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter b/w and NON-Map-Projected CTX frame identified by the serial n. ESP_039148_1980) has been additionally processed, magnified - in order to make the details more visible -, contrast enhanced, 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 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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