Astronomy Picture of the Day
August 7, 2014

Black Dunes
Black Dunes

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

In this VIS image, taken by the NASA - Mars Odyssey Orbiter on May, 8th, 2014, and during its 54.994th orbit around the Red Planet, we can see quite a few, (relatively) small, and very dark Barchan Dunes (actually, they are almost black, and this circumstance makes us believe that the Sand and Dust forming them could reasonably contain large amounts of Iron Oxide). These Black Dunes are located on the Northern Plains of Mars.

No Impact Craters are visible here, even though, on the central (and slightly to the left - Sx) upper side as well as on the lower right (Dx) corner of the frame, two Surface Features that look, respectively, like a very small and a medium-sized Buried Impact Crater can be (barely) seen. Notice, also, the dark Windstreaks that characterize the left (Sx) size of the Black Dunes and which tell us that the Dominant Winds, in this location, blow from the South/East to the North/West.

Latitude (centered): 75,1759° North
Longitude (centered): 92,1236° East
Instrument: VIS

This image (which is a crop taken from an Original Mars Odyssey Orbiter b/w and Map-Projected frame published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 18671) has been additionally processed, magnified to aid the visibility of the details, contrast enhanced and sharpened, 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 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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