Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

SMART-1 diagnoses wrinkles and excess weight in Humorum and Procellarum basins

23.08.2007
Owing to SMART-1's high resolution and the favourable illumination conditions during the satellite's scientific operations, data from Europe's lunar orbiter is helping put together a story linking geological and volcanic activity on the Moon.

The combination of high resolution data from SMART-1's AMIE micro-camera and data from the US Clementine mission is helping scientists determine the tectonics of the Moon's giant basins and the history of volcanic flooding of mid-sized craters, inside and around the lunar basins.

"Thanks to low-elevation solar illumination on these high resolution images", says SMART-1 Project Scientist Bernard Foing, "it is now possible to study fine, small scale geological features that went undetected earlier."

The study provides new information on the thermal and tectonic history of the Moon and the processes following the formation of the large basins.
There are approximately 50 recognizable lunar basins more than 300 km in diameter. They are believed to be created by the impact of asteroids or comets during the Lunar Late Heavy Bombardment period, 350-750 million years after the formation of the Moon. Some of these basins (mostly on the near

side) were then filled in by lava originating from volcanic activity.

Combining information from SMART-1 and Clementine makes it possible to assess the link between fine geological structures, identified for the first time with AMIE's high resolution, and the chemical composition of the study area.

The Humorum basin is an 'ideal', circular, compact and moderately thick basin that was created by a simple impact event, showing a thin crust and mass concentration within a small area (from Clementine topography and gravity data).

The Procellarum basin, or Oceanus Procellarum, is a large, extended, complex basin that is moderately thick and shows no mass concentration. It may have been formed by faulting associated with the formation of the adjacent Imbrium crater (3.84 thousand million years ago), rather than by a 'gargantuan' impact.

The Humorum basin shows concentric graben, or elongated, trench-like erosional features around the edge of the basin. These are formed as the crust is deformed due to the presence of a mascon (mass concentration or 'local overweight').

"Lunar crust is like a fragile skin, wrinkled due to local mascons or its thermal history", says Bernard Foing, "as doctors, we searched for these skin-imprints but some may be masked underneath the latest basalt layers"

For the first time, strike-slip faults have been observed with SMART-1 in the Humorum basin. These are faults where the rupture is vertical and one side slides past the other. An example is the San Andreas fault along the western United States, however there is no multi-plate tectonic activity on the Moon.

Procellarum is an extended basin, where magma has arisen from under the surface, 4 to 2 thousand million years ago, as the crust is thin enough.

SMART-1 images do not show geological faults, or surfaces where the rock ruptures due to differential movement, in the Procellarum basin.

It however shows wrinkle ridges that are not distributed radially around the basin. Due to their location, they do not seem associated with mascon tectonics, but mostly are results of thermal and mechanical deformation resulting from volcanic activity - basalt extruded by the lava causes compression in the area. The Procellarum basin contains the youngest basalt found on the Moon so far, up to 2 thousand million years old.

Different 'pulses' of volcanic activity in lunar history created units of lava on the surface. The flooding of mid-sized craters with lava due to volcanic activity in the region is reflected in the mineralogical map. Differences in the mineralogical composition provide a tool to study the geological history of the region. Flooded as well as unflooded craters are found in the region, reflecting the evolution of volcanic activity with time.

"This analysis shows the potential of the AMIE camera", says Jean-Luc Josset, Principal Investigator for the AMIE camera, "and we are still analysing other datasets that make use of the varying illumination conditions during the operation of SMART-1 over one and half years".

Anita Heward | alfa
Further information:
http://www.europlanet-eu.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=109&I

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Heating quantum matter: A novel view on topology
22.08.2017 | Université libre de Bruxelles

nachricht Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form
18.08.2017 | Cornell University

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Cholesterol-lowering drugs may fight infectious disease

22.08.2017 | Health and Medicine

Meter-sized single-crystal graphene growth becomes possible

22.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

Repairing damaged hearts with self-healing heart cells

22.08.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>