PIA12901: Recent Impact
Target Name: Moon
Is a satellite of: Earth
Mission: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO)
Spacecraft: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO)
Instrument: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (NAC)
Product Size: 1400 x 1400 pixels (width x height)
Produced By: Arizona State University
Other Information: More details and images at LROC
Full-Res TIFF: PIA12901.tif (1.962 MB)
Full-Res JPEG: PIA12901.jpg (359.5 kB)

Click on the image above to download a moderately sized image in JPEG format (possibly reduced in size from original)

Original Caption Released with Image:

A very young impact crater in Balmer basin. The dark streamers are impact melt splashes thrown out during the crater formation, image 1302 meters wide.

When you look at the Moon, you'll notice right away that the Moon is covered with impact craters. The size of an impact crater is related to the size of the asteroid or comet that struck the Moon. Smaller impacts happen much more frequently than large impacts, so the Moon has many small craters. Smaller impact craters also tend to be younger than larger impact craters because they are easily destroyed during the formation of other craters. This unnamed crater is notable for several distinct features. It is not circular in form like most impact craters, perhaps due to a pre-existing crater on the surface or a weakness in the subsurface. The dark streamers are the result of rock that was melted during the impact that was sprayed out as part of the ejecta. The jumbled floor is made of rock broken during the impact mixed with impact melt and soil and has probably changed little since the crater formed.

NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center built and manages the mission for the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. 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, the LROC facility is part of the School of Earth and Space Exploration (SESE). 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.

Image Credit:
NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University

Image Addition Date:
2009-08-31