The crater 'scape


Gravitational field measurements of one of the largest, youngest and best-preserved craters on the moon.


Ernest Wright, NASA / GSFC Scientific Visualization Studio

The moon’s 930-kilometre-diameter Orientale impact basin is shown partially coloured using gravitational field measurements – which give information about the mass of different regions of the moon – taken by the Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) spacecraft mission.

Red shading denotes more mass while blue signals less. The resulting pattern shows the detailed structure of the central basin depression, filled with dense mare basalts, as well as the rings that formed due to gravitational collapse of the initial crater cavity shortly after the impact.

The data were presented in the journal Science.

  1. http://science.sciencemag.org/cgi/doi/10.1126/science.aag0519
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