Saturday, March 9, 2013

New 3D CLSE lunar flyover video: Schrödinger basin

David A. Kring, Ph.D.
Center for Lunar Science & Exploration (CLSE)

The Center for Lunar Science and Exploration added another video to its Atlas of Lunar Flyovers. In this new addition, we explore the floor of the Schrodinger basin.The direct link to the new flyover is HERE.

The Moon’s Schrödinger basin is the best preserved impact basin of its size.  Its broad flat floor offers several safe landing sites and the geology within the basin is extraordinary.  The two highest science priorities and over half of the science objectives outlined in the National Research Council (NRC) report The Scientific Context for Exploration of the Moon (2007) can be addressed with field studies and samples collected in Schrödinger basin.

Schrödinger basin CLSE landing study 'Site B' (yellow ellipse), well within the 10 km safety 'walk-back' distance of the an unnamed 6.8 km Copernican Age crater that presumably excavated deep into the basin's intact peak rings, depositing valuable samples near the crater rim. (Further details on this site will be the subject of a future post.) The site, in context with the larger basin, is marked with a yellow arrow below. LROC Wide Angle Camera (WAC) monochrome (643nm) observation M169698283C, LRO orbit 10142, September 3, 2011; angle of incidence 72.67° at 81.3 meters resolution, from 58.66 km [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].
The video highlights three features in the basin.  It begins with a flight along a fracture in the basin floor towards an immense volcanic vent of pyroclastic material.  Because of the in situ resource utilization (ISRU) potential of the pyroclastic material, this vent was a target of the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate (ESMD) portion of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) mission.

The notably darker material surrounding Schrödinger basin's distinctive pyroclastic vent. Another landing site (green arrow, in an image showing the entire basin interior floor) is proposed near upper center right in this oblique LROC Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) field of view. LROC NAC mosaic M121415248LR, LRO orbit 3026, February 21, 2010; angle of incidence 81.66° (spacecraft slew -65.65° off nadir) rough resolution 3.7 meters from 53 km [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].
The flyover then turns towards the towering and mountainous peak ring that contains rock exposures of material uplifted from the mid- to lower-crust by the basin-forming impact event.  The flyover then sweeps back towards the pyroclastic vent over an intervening plain of melt-bearing impact lithologies.  Samples of that material can be used to determine the age of the Schrödinger basin and, thus, help test the lunar cataclysm hypothesis.

Related Posts:
Amundsen crater: CLSE lunar landing site study (February 5, 2013)
Scarps in Schrödinger (September 28, 2011)
Sampling Schrödinger (August 17, 2011)
A review of all things Schrödinger (August 31, 2010)
LOLA: Schrödinger basin (July 17, 2010)
Craters on the Schrödinger pyroclastic cone (April 24, 2010)

LROC WAC 100 meter monochrome global mosaic shows the 312 km-wide Schrödinger basin, a prominent feature of the far southern far side latitudes and stand out increasingly as a location where many high-priority lunar exploration science goals might be accomplished. The area includes smooth and rough plains, basin wall material, hummocky terrain, intact peak rings, mare, dark explosive volcanic material and ridged terrain. CLSE Landing Site Study Site A (green arrow) and Site B (yellow arrow) are shown at much higher resolution in the images further above [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].

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