NAC view of a part of the lava terrace within the Bowditch feature. The wall of Bowditch is on the right and the terrace is located between the two dashed white lines. LROC NAC image M101478053R, image width is 2400 meters (1.5 miles), incidence angle is 86°.
Bowditch (25.0°S, 103.1°E) is an irregularly-shaped depression NW of Lacus Solitudinis. Inside Bowditch is a "ring" that resembles a dirty bathtub. Much like water in a bathtub, this ring is a marker of the highest level of liquid lava within Bowditch. The Bowditch depression filled with lava like many craters on the Moon, and as the lava cooled and solidified, it subsided into the center of the depression. The ring is the remnant from this activity. NAC images give us further evidence of lava cooling, contraction, and subsidence in the mare. We do not know if drainage or contraction during cooling causes lava terraces like Bowditch, but these new images should provide us with more clues.
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.