PIA13997: Exposed Boulders in the Aitken Mare
Target Name: Moon
Is a satellite of: Earth
Mission: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO)
Spacecraft: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO)
Instrument: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (NAC)
Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (WAC)
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: PIA13997.tif (1.001 MB)
Full-Res JPEG: PIA13997.jpg (157.9 kB)

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Original Caption Released with Image:

Boulders eroding out of the hillslope and concentrated between two hills. NAC image M143480262 above, image width is 700 meters.

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Location of the boulder field within Aitken crater.
LROC WAC monochrome mosaic, image width is 160 kilometers

Boulder fields on the Moon are a fairly common feature. In general, large boulder fields are usually part of an ejecta deposit surrounding their parent crater or a product of gravity-driven mass wasting, where blocks on a slope are dislodged from the regolith or rock outcrops by various geologic processes (including meteorite impacts or moonquakes) and roll downhill. Since this boulder field is located at the base of a slope, it is likely a product of gravity-driven mass wasting. This field has boulders as large as 10 meters in size.

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:
2011-01-27