Friday, May 28, 2010

LROC: Constellation ROI at Hertzsprung Basin

Portion of LROC NAC image M112421089RE showing fresh boulders on the inner ring of lunar far side Hertzsprung Basin, thought to be nearly pure anorthosite. Image is approximately 690 meters across and the Sun is from the right of the frame (east) [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].

Ross Beyer
LROC News System

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LROC) narrow angle camera (NAC) Featured Image focuses in on the Hertzsprung Constellation Tier One Region of Interest, detailing an area of the 270 kilometer diameter Inner Ring of the Hertzsprung Basin (570 km diameter) on the lunar far side. This basin is of the early Moon's Nectarian period (> 3.8 billion years) and is intermediate in size between two-ring basins (e.g., Schrodinger) and larger, multi-ring basins (e.g., Orientale). As such, it excavates material from an intermediate depth that helps us better understand the composition and structure of different zones of the lunar crust.

WAC context view of the inner ring of Hertzsprung basin and the 40x40 km Constellation region of interest. Arrow indicates the approximate location of NAC detail above. Image M118315549ME [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].

This site is a great exploration target because it provides access to the inner portion of the basin and the inner ring, which is thought to be nearly pure anorthosite. Explorers based in Hertzprung can investigate basin formation, highlands regolith, and these unique deep crustal rocks from far below the surface. The fresh boulders make perfect samples, and are just waiting for someone to come and pick them up! Nature has provided a natural drill hole to the lower portions of the crust - just the place to determine how the crust formed in the first place.

Browse the entire NAC frame of the Hertzsprung site !

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