Space

Scientists compile the first comprehensive geological map of the Moon

Scientists compile the first c...
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Refreshing historical maps with modern scientific observations has enabled scientists to put together an incredibly detailed perspective of the Moon, showing its geology at a scale of 1:5,000,000
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Refreshing historical maps with modern scientific observations has enabled scientists to put together an incredibly detailed perspective of the Moon, showing its geology at a scale of 1:5,000,000

Drawing on data from satellites and Apollo-era missions, scientists at the US Geological Survey (USGS), NASA and the Lunar Planetary Institute have pieced together what they say is the first comprehensive geological map of the Moon.

Our 4.5-billion-year-old satellite is adorned with all kinds of rocks, craters and other interesting geological features. To dig into the details, the scientists looked to regional maps from six Apollo missions and combined these with modern data from recent satellite missions.

Refreshing the historical maps with fresh scientific observations enabled the scientists to put together an incredibly detailed perspective of the Moon, showing its geology at a scale of 1:5,000,000.

"People have always been fascinated by the Moon and when we might return," says current USGS Director and former NASA astronaut Jim Reilly. “So, it’s wonderful to see USGS create a resource that can help NASA with their planning for future missions.”

The scientists say this Unified Geologic Map of the Moon can act as a blueprint for future manned missions to the Moon, as well as offering key insights for scientists here on the ground.

“This map is a culmination of a decades-long project,” said Corey Fortezzo, USGS geologist and lead author. “It provides vital information for new scientific studies by connecting the exploration of specific sites on the Moon with the rest of the lunar surface.”

A high-res video animation can be viewed here and a high-res version of the map can be found here.

Source: US Geological Survey

3 comments
los_kiosk
At the risk of being pedantic, shouldn't it be called a Selenogical map of the moon, rather than Geological, which is a term pertaining to the Earth ?
Kpar
los kiosk, maybe it's because it was the US Geological Service? ;-) That said, this looks interesting, but what do the colors represent?
Simon Blake
Sadly this may be the first step to investigating mining on the moon. Not content with wrecking one planet there are those keen to visit others where their work will not be seen. We obviously need raw materials but not at any price.