Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Love U, on the farside of the Moon

A small crater on the inner rim of the farside highlands crater Love U (5.535°S, 128.024°E). LROC NAC M159114365R, LRO orbit 8582, May 4, 2011; 39.5° angle of incidence image, 61 cm resolution from 59.82 km [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].
Sarah Braden
LROC News System

The 320 meter diameter crater in today's Featured Image is located inside the larger Love U crater (12 km, 5.535°S, 128.024°E).

Why does this fresh crater look "squished" on one side? The inner wall of Love U slopes downwards from the lower left to the upper right. The lower left hand portion of the crater rim is crisp and unmodified, because it is the upslope part of the crater.

The upper right hand half of the crater rim is not circular and is very modified by debris that fell downslope.

Asymmetric craters are sometimes due to the trajectory of the impacting bolide being less than 15° from the surface (oblique impact). The ~26° slope of Love U's inner wall dominates the morphology of the crater in the Featured Image. The rays of the crater are also asymmetric; longer rays extend downslope into Love U crater.

LROC image-derived Digital Terrain Model (DTM) of Love U crater and surroundings, generated on the fly using the latest generation of their versatile Quick Map application. The crater of interest is seen "on edge" (arrow) from this perspective [NASA/DLR/GSFC/Arizona State University].
For more love on the Moon, remember this lunar valentine HERE?

LROC Wide Angle Camera (WAC) context view (with false-color relative elevation) of Love U; white box outlines the field of view shown in detail in the LROC Featured Image [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].
The WAC image above shows that Love U is part of a crater chain. Some of the craters in the chain are oval or elongated, which indicates that they are probably secondaries from a large impact. Crater chains can be formed by secondary craters, volcanic collapse in association with graben, or primary impacts from a string of smaller bolides. Planetary scientists use morphologic and contextual clues to determine how a crater chain formed.

Love U is a satellite crater of the main crater Love, a 90 km diameter, highly degraded crater on the far side of the Moon. The namesake of Love crater is Augustus Edward Hough Love, a mathematician who is well known for Love waves and Love numbers.

Explore the entire NAC image, HERE.

Related Images:
Lopsided La Perouse A
Top of the Landslide
Oval Crater

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