new information about the Orientale Basin region of the moon in a composite image
taken by NASA's Moon Mineralogy Mapper, a guest instrument aboard the Indian
Space Research Organisation's Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft.
Iron oxides, particularly on dark "reddened" Near Side mare regoliths, are well-known markers of lunar morphology, for example "optical maturity," or "OMAT," though this last single example may only reliably demonstrate the exposure of small areas on the Moon's surface back 500 to 900 million years. Cosmic Iron also bonds well and marks with Titanium and otherwise volatile elements such as Oxygen.
“The Moon Mineralogy Mapper provides us with compositional information across the moon that we have never had access to before”, said Pieters. “Our ability to now identify and map the composition of the surface in geologic context provides a new level of detail needed to explore and understand Earth’s nearest neighbor.”
The image revealed changes in rock and mineral composition, indicated the abundance of iron-bearing minerals such as pyroxene, and provided a new level of detail on the form and structure of the region’s surface.