Astronomy Picture of the Day
March 8, 2015

Features of Acidalia Planitia
Features of Acidalia Planitia

Credits: NASA/JPL/Arizona State University (ASU) - Credits for the additional process. and color.: Dr Paolo C. Fienga/Lunar Explorer Italia/IPF

In this beautiful VIS image, taken by the NASA - Mars Odyssey Orbiter on March, 8th, 2003, and during its 5.455th orbit around the Red Planet, we can see a small portion of the Martian Region known as Acidalia PlanitiaAcidalia Planitia is a vast Volcanic Plain located between the Tharsis Volcanic Province and the ancient Region known as Arabia Terra (to the North of the Great Valles Marineris Canyon System); Acidalia Planitia is centered at 46° and 42' North Latitude and 338,0° East Longitude.

Most of this Martian Region is found in the Mare Acidalium Quadrangle, but a small part of it is found in the Ismenius Lacus Quadrangle. Just out of curiosity, the Plain of Acidalia contains the famous Cydonia Region and the Plain itself was so named after a corresponding (so-called) Classical Albedo Feature - found on a map by Giovanni Schiaparelli, which was in turn named after the mythological "Fountain of Acidalia".

Last, but not least, some places in Acidalia Planitia (just like the one visible in the upper portion of this picture) show the presence of Cone-like Surface Features and a few Planetary Researchers suggested that these Cones could be Mud Volcanoes. Unfortunately, this (truly interesting and - somehow - even highly believable) speculation, cannot be proven in any way for now.

Latitude (centered): 45,82550° North
Longitude (centered): 6,03611° East
Instrument: VIS

This image (which is an Original Mars Odyssey Orbiter falsely colored and Map-Projected frame published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 19225) 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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