Astronomy Picture of the Day
March 15, 2015

Dunes in Meroe Patera (CTX Frame)
Dunes in Meroe Patera (CTX Frame)

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

One of the major extended-mission objectives for HiRISE has been to re-image parts of the Surface of Mars to look for changes. Such observations (like this one, obtained by the NASA - Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on February 3, 2015) can tell us what kind of (Atmospherical and Geological - if any) Processes are still active today. This image was acquired as part of a series of frames aimed to look for Sand Movements in Meroe Patera, which is not far away from the active Sand Dunes of Nili Patera.

If you look at the picture carefully, you will be able to notice - among other interesting things - that Sand Dunes are missing Downwind (such as towards the left - Sx) of an Unnamed Impact Crater located near the lower center of the observation. Why? Well, this phenomenon happened because the Sand - pushed by strong Aeolian Activities, fell into the Crater itself and remained trapped.

Mars Local Time: 14:33 (Early Afternoon)
Coord. (centered): 7,167° North Lat. and 67,751° East Long.
Spacecraft altitude: 279,2 Km (such as about 173,383 miles)
Original image scale range: 27,9 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binningso objects84 cm across are resolved (with 1 x 1 binning)
Map projected scale: 25 cm/pixel
Emission Angle: 14,9°
Phase Angle: 61,7°
Solar Incidence Angle: 49° (meaning that the Sun was about 41° above the Local Horizon at the time the picture was taken)
Solar Longitude: 284,6° (Northern Winter - Southern Summer)
Credits: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
Additional process. and coloring: Lunar Explorer Italia

This picture (which is a NASA - Original Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter b/w and NON-Map-Projected frame identified by the serial n. ESP_039955_1875) has been additionally processed, reduced in size to fit the page, 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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