LRO Explores the Moon
Marius Hills, Moon
The Marius Hills region is known for its diversity of volcanic landforms: extensive mare basalt plains, small shield volcanoes, steep-sided cones of cinder and spatter, and sinuous rilles. Here, two small shield volcanoes are viewed from 120 kilometers altitude by the Lunar Recconnaissance Orbiter Camera. These shields are constructed from short and blocky lava flows and C-shaped cinder-spatter cones that are similar in shape and size to cinder cones found on Earth. Image: LROC NAC featured mosaic (NASA/GSFC/ASU). Hi-res image
Dionysius Crater, Moon
Lava flow sequences are revealed as dark bands in high-resolution Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera images. The walls of craters like Dionysius provide windows into the subsurface structure of the Moon as well as local stratigraphy. View of east crater wall from 45 km altitude; image: LROC NAC M137434784 (NASA/GSFC/ASU). Hi-res image
Left: Dionysius crater rests on the western edge of Mare Tranquillitatis and excavates both bright highlands and dark mare materials. Image: RGB image (689/415/321 nm) from LROC WAC reflectance map (NASA/GSFC/ASU).
Right: Dionysius crater is 19 km in diameter. Image: LROC WAC basemap (NASA/GSFC/ASU). Hi-res image
Larmor Q Crater, Moon
Spectacular Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera images of young impact craters provide new insights into crater formation and the intense pressures and temperatures that melt and displace the lunar surface. Massive wall slumps have formed a mountain of materials inside Larmor Q crater. Crater diameter is 23 km N-S, 19 km E-W with a maximum relief of 3.4 km rim-to-floor; image: LROC NAC M174081337(NASA/GSFC/ASU). Hi-res image
Left: Most of the impact melt in Larmor Q crater is located opposite the largest slumped materials, where melt splashed up on the south wall as a result of the north wall's collapse. Image: LROC NAC M174081337 (NASA/ GSFC/ASU).
Right: Several relatively short flows of impact melt rock on the crater rim. Image: LROC NAC M174081337 (NASA/GSFC/ASU).
Left: High-resolution images from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera reveal young volcanism at Ina D. Lumpy mounds of lava have squeezed up through a solidified lava lake resulting in Ina D's unique morphology. The caldera is 2.3 km wide N-S and 3.1 km E-W, with a maximum relief of 65 m rim-to-floor; image: LROC NAC M119815703 (NASA/GSFC/ASU).
Right: Ina D occurs atop a small shield volcano revealed in high-resolution stereo images and has an elongate outline typical of volcanic calderas. Image: colorized topography in 3-m elevation intervals; pink-red = high; blue-purple = low (NASA/ GSFC/ASU/LPI).
Left: The Lassell massif is a silicic volcano standing 1.5 kilometers tall and composed of ancient lava flows, volcanic craters, and pyroclastic ash. Dimensions 25 km E-W, 46 km N-S; image: LROC NAC M1111904689 (NASA/GSFC/ASU).
Right: Three very deep craters occur on the massif; their clustering and elongate shapes suggest a volcanic caldera that erupted and collapsed multiple times. Patches of dark materials exposed in the steep walls are pyroclastics that blanket the area. Image: LROC NAC M1116585481 (NASA/GSFC/ASU).
A notional rover traverse in the Marius Hills plotted on LROC NAC featured mosaic (NASA/GSFC/ASU/LPI).
The Moon, our nearest neighbor, is a captivating destination for future study and exploration. New missions to the Moon are planned using high-resolution images and topography.
Dr. Julie Stopar, a scientist at Lunar and Planetary Institute, researches many fascinating lunar impact craters and volcanoes. She has been active in the science and operations of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera since before the spacecraft launched in 2009. One of the primary objectives of the mission is to collect the data necessary to plan future exploration of the Moon's surface.