First-ever comprehensive geologic map of the moon — ScienceDaily
Have you ever questioned what sort of rocks make up these vibrant and darkish splotches on the moon? Well, the USGS has simply launched a brand new authoritative map to assist clarify the four.5-billion-year-old historical past of our nearest neighbor in house.
For the first time, the whole lunar floor has been utterly mapped and uniformly categorised by scientists from the USGS, in collaboration with NASA and the Lunar Planetary Institute.
The lunar map, referred to as the “Unified Geologic Map of the Moon,” will function the definitive blueprint of the moon’s floor geology for future human missions and might be invaluable for the worldwide scientific neighborhood, educators and the public-at-large. The digital map is accessible on-line now and reveals the moon’s geology in unimaginable element (1:5,000,000 scale).
“People have always been fascinated by the moon and when we might return,” mentioned present USGS Director and former NASA astronaut Jim Reilly. “So, it’s wonderful to see USGS create a resource that can help NASA with their planning for future missions.”
To create the new digital map, scientists used info from six Apollo-era regional maps together with up to date info from current satellite tv for pc missions to the moon. The current historic maps had been redrawn to align them with the fashionable information units, thus preserving earlier observations and interpretations. Along with merging new and outdated information, USGS researchers additionally developed a unified description of the stratigraphy, or rock layers, of the moon. This resolved points from earlier maps the place rock names, descriptions and ages had been generally inconsistent.
“This map is a culmination of a decades-long project,” mentioned Corey Fortezzo, USGS geologist and lead writer. “It provides vital information for new scientific studies by connecting the exploration of specific sites on the moon with the rest of the lunar surface.”
Elevation information for the moon’s equatorial area got here from stereo observations collected by the Terrain Camera on the current SELENE (Selenological and Engineering Explorer) mission led by JAXA, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. Topography for the north and south poles was supplemented with NASA’s Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter information.