PIA13532: Slipher Crater: Fractured Moon in 3-D
Target Name: Moon
Is a satellite of: Earth
Spacecraft: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO)
Instrument: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (NAC)
Product Size: 1000 x 1000 pixels (width x height)
Produced By: Arizona State University
Other Information: More details and images at LROC
Full-Res TIFF: PIA13532.tif (1.001 MB)
Full-Res JPEG: PIA13532.jpg (187.4 kB)

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Original Caption Released with Image:

Over time, the surface of the Moon fractures and buckles as it cools and shrinks, resulting in spectacular landforms. Stereo images provided by the LROC NAC allow a detailed look at these amazing features; view is to the east, foreground to background distance is ~3 kilometers (1.8 miles).

The wall of Slipher crater is deformed by one of many scarps found in the lunar highlands, which are thought to form as the Moon shrinks due to magma deep inside the Moon cooling and "freezing" to solid rock. Unlike water-ice (ice floats), most rocks are denser than their magma (you can think of water as magma and ice as rock), meaning rocks occupy less volume than their parent melt. As the interior of the Moon shrinks due to this volume change, the outer crust of the Moon wrinkles and folds, and the linear, rounded shape of the lobate scarp occurs as the crust breaks and one segment is thrust on top of another.

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, 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:
2010-10-12