Tuesday, October 12, 2010

LROC: Alphonsus

Among the fifty Constellation program Regions of Interest, none ranked higher than 117 km-wide Alphonsus (13.4°S, 357.2°E), specifically a landing zone chosen in the northeast, not-coincidentally less than 20 km from the impact of Ranger 9 (12.83°S, 357.53°E), March 24, 1965 - though the LZ was closer-still to the inter-mixture of floor and pyroclastic fracture-zone material located there. Alphonsus is older than the Imbrium basin-forming-impact event and the apparent affect of that catastrophe (note the harsh grooving cut into the low and worn outer rim, almost certainly radiating from the center of Imbrium) remains a matter of high interest. As highly surveyed and well-photographed as Alphonsus is, some questions can only be addressed through direct assaying and sampling [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].

Review the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera Featured Image, HERE.

LROC Narrow Angle Camera closeup (M111606491LE LRO orbit 1581, October 31, 2009) of a fracture in the northeast floor of Alphonsus. Dark pyroclastic materials are intermixed with rocks and boulders from the fracture walls and all appear to have moved in streamers toward the fracture floor at upper right. A NASA Constellation region of interest is centered to the southeast (lower right) of this view. Full frame field of view is 2.7 km [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].

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