Saturday, September 17, 2011

NASA's LROC captures a possible Volcano on the Moon

NASA's LROC captures a possible Volcano on the Moon
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Along the embayed Eddington crater rim is an ~1.5 km dome that may be an ancient volcano with a summit pit crater. LROC NAC M148618400R, image width is 960 meters. Volcanic features are observed all over the Moon, but sometimes it is difficult to tell whether an observed feature is of volcanic origin or the remnant of another geologic feature (e.g., basin ejecta or buried rim materials). Today's Featured Image is a prime example of a dome that may or may not be of volcanic origin. The dome is ~1.5 km wide and has a summit crater, but is the crater of impact or volcanic origin? The dome is geomorphologically similar to two volcanoes found in Lacus Mortis. These other domes are about the same size (~1.5 km wide) and have similar appearances, except that today's feature has many more small superposed impacts, suggesting that it is older than the Lacus Mortis volcanoes. Does it mean that this feature in western Oceanus Procellarum is a volcano just because it looks like one? The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera was designed to acquire data for landing site certification and to conduct polar illumination studies and global mapping. Operated by Arizona State University, LROC consists of a pair of narrow-angle cameras (NAC) and a single wide-angle camera (WAC). The mission is expected to return over 70 terabytes of image data.
Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University

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