Lunar and Planetary Institute

Schrödinger Volcanic Vent and Impact Peak Ring


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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 report The Scientific Context for Exploration of the Moon can be addressed with field studies and samples collected in Schrödinger basin.  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 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.



The Schrödinger vent flyover was generated in ESRI ArcGIS using ArcMAP and ArcSCENE programs.  The base image was created using ISIS scripts to mosaic and geo-reference 24 Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) images with resolutions that range from 0.5 m/pix to 1.3 m/pix.  Images mosaicked include M167289673LE, M167289673RE, M167296459LE, M167296459RE, M167303244LE, M167303244RE, M167310030LE, M167310030RE, M167316815LE, M167316815RE, M167323600LE, M167323600RE, M169650959LE, M169650959RE, M169657743LE, M169657743RE, M169664526LE, M169664526RE, M169671323LE, M169671323RE, M169678103LE, M169678103RE, M169684893RE, and M184953133LE.  This mosaic was imported into ArcMAP and was co-registered with geo-referenced Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) gridded data with a resolution of ~60 m/pix (512 ppd).  Both the LROC NAC mosaic and the LOLA topography data were clipped to the same extent for use in ArcSCENE.  Once imported into ArcSCENE, each pixel in the LROC NAC mosaic was assigned the corresponding pixel in the LOLA topography data.  Using the capabilities of the ArcSCENE program, we manipulated the resulting three-dimensional image, “flying” around the scene and recording the flight path for later viewing.



This flyover was produced by Debra Hurwitz, John Blackwell, and David Kring.  The music on the audio track is by Beaten Trax and used with permission.



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