Astronomy Picture of the Day
October 6, 2015

Features of the Eastern Flank of Elysium Mons
Features of the Eastern Flank of Elysium Mons

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

In this fascinating VIS image, taken by the NASA - Mars Odyssey Orbiter on June, 23rd, 2004, and during its 11.204th orbit around the Red Planet, we can see a very small portion of the Eastern Flank of the huge Shield Volcano known as Elysium Mons. Elysium Mons, as you know, is one of the many gigantic Martian Shiled Volcanoes; it is located in the Elysium Planitia, Eastern Hemisphere of the Red Planet, and it is centered at approx. 24° North Lat. and 146° East Long.

Elysium Mons stands about 13,9 Km (such as about 8,6319 miles) above the surrounding Lava Plains and approx. 16 Km (such as about 9,936 miles) above the Martian Datum (such as the Zero Altitude - or "Sea Level" on Earth). Its diameter is approx. 240 Km (i.e. about 149,04 miles) and its Summit Caldera is about 14 Km (i.e. about 8,6939 miles) across. Just out of curiosity, Elysium Mons is flanked by two other - but way smaller - Volcanoes: Hecates Tholus, to the North, and Albor Tholus, to the South.

It is interesting to mention the fact that Elysium Mons was first seen (and therefore "discovered") in the AD 1972, by examining the images returned by the NASA-Mariner 9 Orbiter. Elysium Mons, like most Martian Volcanoes, is litterally surrounded by countless fascinating Geological Surface Features like, for instance, steep Scarps, Skylights, Single Collapse Pits, Collapse Pit-Chains and, last but not least, by several dark Surface Striations which, in our opinion, were caused by strong Eolian Actions. In this picture, the Gray Areas are - most likely - made of Basaltic Rock and Sand, while the Orange Areas are locations covered by a thin Layer of Dust.

Latitude (centered): 24,3982° North
Longitude (centered): 147,0760° 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 19789) has been additionally processed, magnified to aid the visibility of the details, extra-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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