Thursday, February 3, 2011

Mendeleev in Full

A LROC Wide Angle Camera (WAC) 100 meter/pixel monochrome mosaic released February 3, 2011, shows all of Mendeleev (313 km in diameter) in a full-sized dramatic view available HERE. The white rectangle marks the location of Catena Mendeleev, highlighted in greater detail HERE and below [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].

Sarah Braden
LROC News System

Mendeleev crater (named after Dimitri Mendeleev, the inventor of the periodic table of elements) is a very large, Nectarian-age crater on the lunar farside (5.7°N, 140.9°E). Approximately 313 kilometers in diameter, it is almost large enough to be a small basin. The interior contains many younger craters, including Catena Mendeleev, but also features a very smooth floor filled in with a light plains material. In general, this material is characterized by its smooth surface and intermediate albedo (brighter than basaltic mare material, but not as bright as highlands material). Light plains are found elsewhere on the Moon, most notably in the Cayley formation, the Apollo 16 landing site. Light plains are usually thought to be emplaced as large scale grounding flows of ejecta from large basin forming impacts. However details of this formation mechanism are still not well understood.

A fanciful view of the newly-released LROC WAC mosaic, tapered into the lunar digital elevation model available to users of Google Earth (>v.5). In the foreground left Richards crater (7.7°N, 140.1°E) is approximately 9 km in diameter [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University/USGS/JAXA].

Explore the entire WAC mosaic here!

Related Posts:
Hunting for Ancient Lunar Impact Basins
Mare Frigoris

In 2007, Japan's robust first lunar orbiter SELENE-1 ("Kaguya") took high color High Definition television views from orbit, including this still of Mendeleev from around 100 kilometers above and several hundred to the south, as all of the 313 km crater lingered momentarily on the orbital horizon. Click HERE to see the full-sized image [JAXA/NHK].

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