Saturday, March 20, 2010

LRO/LROC/LOLA: Marius Hills

Large Scale - The prominent Marius Dome field is a familiar target in amateur telescopes, changing almost from minute to minute 5 days after First Quarter or 4 days after Last Quarter, as the terminator sweeps across the western Oceanus Procellarum. Their prominence is quickly lost outside of the long shadows of a low sun of their remarkably low profile. The area was on tap as a landing site for Apollo prior to the cancellation of Apollo 18, 19 & 20. With the help of the latest fleet of vehicles and experiments, including the Laser Altimeter and sophisticated cameras aboard LRO, complex interrelationships between Marius and other artifacts of volcanism on the Moon are again being deciphered. LROC NAC Image M102508144LE [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].

Small Scale: Marius Hills is the largest volcanic dome field on the Moon. The region is an area of high interest because it contains approximately half of the Moon's known volcanic domes. These domes range from 200-500 m in height. In comparison, the Hawaiian volcano Mauna Loa, which is the largest shield volcano on Earth, is 17,170 m tall. This LOLA image covers the area of the Moon from 9.5 - 17N°, and 303.5 - 311°E [NASA/GSFC].

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