- First time ever information of the moon is available with precision.
- It is a great tool for future research and missions.
- It will aid NASA going forward.
For the first time ever, astronomers mapped the entire surface of the moon and classified all the geological structures on its surface. This is big news and the information will be one of the key tools used for further exploration and development as well as for the space mission’s components. The information became available through the 51st Lunar and Planetary Science Conference 2020 release.
The Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, jointly sponsored by the Lunar and Planetary Institute and NASA Johnson Space Center, brings together international specialists in petrology, geochemistry, geophysics, geology, and astronomy to present the latest results of research in planetary science. The project was funded through a NASA grant. The release of the map is a digital-only format presented in both GIS and PDF formats.
The Unified Geological Map of the Moon (UGMM) is made with incredibly precise detail for extraterrestrial cartography: at a scale of 1:5000000.
Cartography is the study and practice of making maps. Combining science, aesthetics, and technique, cartography builds on the premise that reality can be modeled in ways that communicate spatial information effectively.
A five-kilometer detail of the selenium surface has a completely distinguishable size of one millimeter on the map. Project Lead Corey Fortezzo, who is part of the US Geological survey, says the project took multiple years to be completed. The information released provides important information for new research, as it links the study of specific locations on the moon with the data on the rest of the lunar surface.
The new work is based on six maps of different parts of the lunar surface, compiled during the “Apollo” era. Specialists have supplemented them with more recent information obtained from orbiters.
The Apollo program, also known as Project Apollo, was the third United States human spaceflight program carried out by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, which succeeded in landing the first humans on the Moon from 1969 to 1972.
There was also data used on the Equatorial regions of the moon brought by the SELENE mission of the Japanese space Agency JAXA. Polar regions were mapped using the LRO probe, created and launched by NASA specialists. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is a NASA robotic spacecraft currently orbiting the Moon in an eccentric polar mapping orbit. Data collected by LRO have been described as essential for planning NASA’s future human and robotic missions to the Moon.
Overall, 43 stratigraphic units came to the attention of scientists. Due to the new data, many objects were mapped for the first time including various faults, grabens, raised edges of craters etc. A graben is an elongated block of the earth’s crust lying between two faults and displaced downward relative to the blocks on either side, as in a rift valley.
Horst and graben are formed when normal faults of opposite dip occur in pair with parallel strike lines. Horst and graben are always formed together. Graben are usually represented by low-lying areas such as rifts and river valleys whereas horsts represent the ridges between or on either side of these valleys.
Experts also made a uniform description of the surface details and geological layers of selenium. It is important information that will aid future research and better understanding of the area.