Detailed Geological Characteristics of Von Kármán Crater, Northwestern SPA Basin: Chang’E-4 Landing Site Region


Image credit: Xinhua

The farside South Pole-Aitken (SPA) basin is the largest known impact structure on the Moon and is a hot spot for scientific and space exploration. In 2018, the Chinese Chang’e-4 (CE-4) lunar probe will be the first to land in the Von Kármán crater, within the SPA basin. The scientific instruments of CE-4, mounted on a lander and a rover, will analyze both surface and subsurface of this farside region. This paper presents a detailed geological study of the CE-4 landing site, based on remote sensing data from the LRO and Kaguya (SELENE) missions. The landing site region has a complex geological history, knowledge of which sets the framework for interpreting the in situ measurements of the CE-4 mission. Its data will provide unique insights into SPA’s history and unusual chemical compositions, regolith evolution, the compositions of farside mare basalts, and the evolution of lunar regolith in the space environment.

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