Astronomy Picture of the Day
June 14, 2015

Features of Coracis Fossae
Features of Coracis Fossae

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 August, 28th, 2003, and during its 7.556th orbit around the Red Planet, we can see a small portion of the Martian sub-Region known as Coracis Fossae. Coracis Fossae is just one of the very many Martian Geological Surface Features known as "Fossae"; it is centered at 36,14° South Latitude, 279,14° East Longitude and its length is roughly 748,96 Km (such as approx. 465,104 miles).

In Planetary Geology, a Fossa (pl. Fossae) is a long, and often really narrow Depression (---> also known as "Trough") which is located on the Surface of an Extraterrestrial Celestial Body, such as a Planet or a moon. The term, which means "ditch" or "trench" in Latin, is NOT a "Geological Term" as such (---> per se), but a so-called "Descriptor Term", used by the United States Geological Survey (or "USGS", for short) as well as by the International Astronomical Union (or "IAU", for short) for Topographic Features whose Geology - or Geomorphology - is uncertain, due to lack of data or knowledge of the exact processes that formed them.

However, many Fossae are believed to be the final result of either a number (---> better yet: a series) of Geological Processes (such as Faulting and/or Subsidence), or other (and usually) Catastrophic Geological Events (i.e.: Explosive Volcanic Eruptions, followed by powerful Shock Waves and strong Seismic Activity/ies). Last, but not least, even the occurrence of a particularly violent impact - i.e.: a Meteor Strike - and the subsequent propagation - even in this case - of powerful Shock Waves all over and around the Surface that has been hit, could be the cause of the creation (or the formation, if you prefer) of Faults.

Latitude (centered): 36,334° South
Longitude (centered): 272,193° 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 19484) 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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