Astronomy Picture of the Day
August 17, 2014

On the Side of Chasma Boreale (CTX Frame)
On the Side of Chasma Boreale (CTX Frame)

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

This Contextual Frame (or "CTX Frame", for short") shows us a relatively small part part of Chasma Boreale, which is an approx. 560-Km (such as about 347,76 miles) long Valley that cuts through the Northern Polar Layered Deposits (or "NPLD", for short) of Mars.

Here we can see a section of Chasma Boreale that exposes fine-scaled Layering and a Major Unconformity of the NPLD (such as a location where the azimuth of the beds suddenly - and for no apparent reasons - changes), and this Unconformity is is one of the many characteristics of both the North and South Polar Layered Deposits. However, the formation of the Unconformity in this area suggests a time when the lower Sediments were being eroded (even, probably, by running Water) rather than deposited.

The North (as well as the South) Polar Layered Deposits are, basically, weakly cemented Rocks and therefore you can see even here, lying over the Scarps, lines of Mass Wasting (such as areas where Dust and Sand-sized Particles have slumped downhill).

This image was obtained by the NASA - Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on June, 22, 2014, such as during the late Summer of the Northern Hemisphere of Mars. In fact, by comparing images like this one to other ones taken in previous years and in different seasons, Planetary Scientists can achieve a more accurate understanding of the Surface Processes that are still (meaning even now) occurring on the Red Planet.

Mars Local Time: 14:50 (Early Afternoon)
Coord. (centered): 85,017° North Lat. and 342,497° East Long.
Spacecraft altitude: 333,4 Km (such as about 207,041 miles)
Original image scale range: 33,4 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binningso objects ~ 1 mt across are resolved
Map projected scale: 25 cm/pixel
Emission Angle: 17,4°
Phase Angle: 60,0°
Solar Incidence Angle: 74° (meaning that the Sun was about 16° above the Local Horizon at the time the picture was taken)
Solar Longitude: 150,1° (Northern Summer - Southern Winter)
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 Contextual-frame identified by the serial n. ESP_037056_2650) 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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