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Lunar Science and Exploration
Center for Lunar Science and Exploration

3D Models of Future Lunar Landing Sites

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By David A. Kring

Three-dimensional models are incredibly useful tools for teaching students about the geologic processes that shape planetary surfaces, but few examples exist within the lunar science community and the educational systems (K-12 and university levels) that develop talent for that community.  In an effort to solve that problem, the Center for Lunar Science and Exploration teamed up with LANDPRINT.COM to produce a series of models that represent major landforms on the lunar surface.  The first two products are models of Tycho Crater, which is a classic central peak complex crater, and the Schrödinger Basin, which is one of the two best-preserved ancient impact basins.  Both impact sites are leading targets of future missions to the lunar surface.  Schools, universities, and libraries can order reproductions of these models from LANDPRINT.COM for their own classroom activities. The Center for Lunar Science and Exploration is preparing models of other representative lunar landforms and will update this web site accordingly when they are available. 

Tycho Crater

 
Tycho Crater

Tycho Crater, approximately 83 kilometers in diameter, is the youngest large impact crater on the Moon's nearside. The crater is several times deeper than the Grand Canyon and its central peak is a significantly higher prominence than Pikes Peak in the Rocky Mountains.

This representative 3D model is a useful educational resource for any classroom or library. It measures approximately 25 cm by 25 cm and is made of porcelain-like material. This model has a vertical exaggeration of a factor of four to make it a more effective teaching tool.  The topography is defined by the 512 pixel per degree data measured by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter-Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LRO-LOLA).  The image of the crater was extracted from the LRO-Wide Angle Camera (LRO-WAC) global mosaic with a resolution of 100 meters per pixel.  The integrated data needed to generate the 3D model was produced by Georgiana Kramer and Teemu Ohman.

Other sites of interest:
Tycho Crater Flyover
Lunar Orbiter: Impact Crater Geology
Lunar Chart LAC-112 Tycho
Lunar Orbiter Imagery (IV-107-M, IV-112-M, IV-119-H2, IV-119-M, IV-124-H2, IV-124-M, and IV-131-M)
Clementine Imagery
Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera Imagery

 

Schrödinger Basin

 
Schrodinger Basin

Schrӧdinger, one of the youngest lunar basins, is approximately 320 kilometers in diameter and is located within the oldest and largest lunar basin, South Pole-Aitken. Schrӧdinger Basin is a highly attractive lunar landing site for future exploration, because seven of the eight concepts identified as lunar science priorities by the National Research Council (2007) can be addressed at this site, including the two highest lunar science priorities. Potential landing sites and sample stations have been described by K. M. O’Sullivan, T. Kohout, K. G. Thaisen, and D. A. Kring (2011) Calibrating several key lunar stratigraphic units representing 4 billion years of lunar history within Schrödinger Basin. In Recent Advances in Lunar Stratigraphy, D.A. Williams and W. Ambrose (eds.), pp. 117–128, Geological Society of America Special Paper 477, Boulder, CO. 

This representative 3D model is a useful educational resource for any classroom or library. It measures approximately 25 cm by 25 cm and is made of porcelain-like material. This model has a vertical exaggeration of a factor of two to make it a more effective teaching tool. The topography is defined by the 512 pixel per degree data measured by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter-Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LRO-LOLA).  The image of the crater was extracted from the LRO-Wide Angle Camera (LRO-WAC) global mosaic with a resolution of 100 meters per pixel. The integrated data needed to generate the 3D model was produced by Georgiana Kramer and Teemu Ohman.

Other sites of interest:
Artists Rendering of the Schrödinger Impact
Lunar Polar Chart (which includes Schrӧdinger Basin)
Lunar Orbiter Imagery (IV-008-M, IV-009-M, IV-038-M, IV-044-M, IV-052-M, IV-058-M, IV-082-M, IV-094-M, IV-106-M, IV-118-M, V-021-H2, and V-021-M)

 

Linné Crater

Linne Crater

One of the classic examples of a perfectly preserved simple crater on the Moon is the Linné crater in western Mare Serenitatis (i.e., within the Serenitatis basin).  The crater is carved from layered basalt flows, some of which are visible in the walls of the crater.  Linné crater is 2.22 km in diameter and nearly 550 meters deep; i.e., with a depth/diameter value of 0.25.  The crater is so well preserved that it is probably only a few millions of years old.  The ejecta from Linné crater is also exquisitely preserved and was used in one of the original papers classifying the morphologies of impact ejecta deposits (Morrison and Oberbeck, 1975, Proceedings of the Lunar Science Conference Sixth, pp. 2503-2530).  Curious dune-like features, oriented circumferentially, surround the crater.  If the Moon had an atmosphere, one might think they were created by an impact air blast moving regolith around.  Because the Moon does not have an atmosphere (except for the transient ones created by impact events), other origins have been proposed for the dune-like features. Morrison and Oberbeck (1975), for example, suggested they were produced by secondary cratering within the continuous ejecta blanket.  Inhomogeneities or instabilities with a characteristic length scale in the radiating shock wave or that produced by the ballistic flight of ejecta seems to have produced the fascinating surface texture.   

This representative 3D model is a useful educational resource for any classroom or library.  It measures approximately 20 cm by 20 cm and is made of porcelain-like material.  This model does not have any vertical exaggeration.  The topography is defined by a digital elevation model (DEM) created from Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) imagery, which has a 2 m spatial resolution and about a 10 m vertical precision.  The image of the crater imprinted on the topography is from the LROC-Narrow Angle Camera (LROC-NAC).  These data were integrated by Virgil (Buck) Sharpton in a format needed for the production of the 3D model.

Other sites of interest:
Lunar Orbiter Imagery (IV-097-H3 and IV-098-H1)
Lunar Topographic Orthophotomap, Linne quadrangle
Apollo Image Atlas (AS15-94-12775, AS15-M-0406, AS15-M-0407, AS15-M-0408, AS15-M-0579, AS15-M-0580, AS15-M-0581, AS15-M-0844, AS15-M-0845, AS15-M-0846, AS15-M-0847, AS15-M-1528, AS15-M-1529, AS15-M-1530, AS15-M-1532, AS15-M-1533, AS15-P-9353, AS17-154-23632, AS17-154-23641, AS17-154-23642, AS17-M-0950)
Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera Imagery
Narrated instructional video about Linne Crater

 


Kepler crater

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