Thursday, November 17, 2011

LROC: Nature's Art

Western half of an unusual unnamed crater and its ejecta near the center of Mare Serenitatis. LROC Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) observation M139795376L, LRO orbit 5735, September 22, 2010; field of view 600 meters, incidence angle 28° from an altitude of 43.91 kilometers. View the full size LROC Featured Image HERE [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].
Hiroyuki Sato
LROC News System

In many cases crater ejecta patterns on the Moon result in natural art.

Unlike the ejecta on the Earth and Mars, ejecta on the Moon does not interact with an atmosphere.

Thus the final pattern on the ground is solely a reflection the dynamics of impact cratering. Today's Featured Image highlights the western half of an unnamed crater located in the middle of Mare Serenitatis. The crater diameter is about 470 meters.

Context view of today's Featured Image, showing a wider view of the unnamed crater ejecta. Field of view close to the full 2.2 kilometer width of LROC NAC frame M139795376L. See the larger context image accompanying the image release HERE [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].
As seen in the second picture (a zoom-out of the same NAC frame), one third of the ejecta blanket (the western portion) is missing, probably due to an oblique impact from west to east. In the top image (near the crater center), almost all of the boulders are ejected in the northwest and southwest direction. The fine particles, however, extend out to the west in patterns not unlike a delicate lace. Studying the full variety of craters with distinctive ejecta patterns is key to understanding the dynamics of oblique impact events.

LROC Wide Angle Camera (WAC) 100 meter per-pixel monochrome mosaic of the center of the Mare Serenitatis basin. The yellow arrow and blue square show the location of the LROC Featured Image and the full NAC observation's footprint. See the larger WAC context image HERE [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].
Explore this beautiful ejecta blanket in the full NAC frame!

Another very familiar crater famous for its asymmetric ejecta and as a nearside landmark of the Moon in an evening sky is bright Proclus - with lighthouse rays guarding "the gates" separating distinctive Palus Somni from Mare Crisium. View of the crater from Earth on March 29, 2010 from a spectacular full lunar disk mosaic by Astronominsk compared with LRO Nominal Mission LROC WAC image[Aстроноmинск (Луна) - NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].
Related posts:
Ray of boulders
Slice of Mare
How did I form?
Asymmetric Ejecta

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