. The Landing sites into the
Irregular Mare Patches/Ina Caldera, the CBVD and the P60 Basaltic Unit
About the video: On 15 January 2012 the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter slewed 64.5 degrees to the east to capture this astonishing view of the floor and central peak of Tycho crater. In June of 2011, LRO captured a view looking to the west. Check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=361YcacQZjg More amazing LROC images can be found at http://lroc.sese.asu.edu.
Landing Sites on the Moon
Irregular Mare Patches/Ina Caldera - 5.3°E, 18.66°N
Ina Caldera is a volcanic landform composed of smooth mounds surrounded by uneven terrain lower in elevation. Ina is proposed to be very young at less than 100 million years, and very old, at more than 3,5 billion years.Dating materials would resolve this issue and potentially constrain the younger end of the Crater Size-Frequency Distribution (CSFD).
Ina (Irregular Mare Patch). (Left) LROC NAC DTM with shaded topography. (Right) LROC NAC DTM-derived slopes.
If Ina is indeed as younger as its CSFD age-model, the composition of the volcanic materials will provide information on the late-stage thermal and chemical evolution of the lunar mantle. The materials that composes the Ina landform are proposed to be highly porous, which would yield crater sizes smaller than predicted.
An exploration mission with a lander on a smooth mound (Ina D) would provide a vantage point for an high-resolution imaging of these mounds and the uneven terrain.
In the Ina smooth deposit, it has been found that, 232 impact craters D bigger than 10m, eight than 25m and, one (1), than 50m. In the Ina uneven deposit, these numbers are, respectively, 28, 4 and, zero.
Reference: Evidence for basaltic volcanism on the Moon within the past 100 million years, by S. E. Braden, J. D. Stopar, M. S. Robinson, S. J. Lawrence, C. H. van der Bogert & H. Hiesinger.
Another issue is landing on the eastern side of Ina, i.e. 18.661° S & 5.331° E, with a rover. At this site, in-situ of physical and chemical proprieties analysis will be possible with a direct access to smooth mounds and the uneven terrain.
Compton-Belkovich Volcanic Deposit (CBVD)- 99.5°E, 61.1°N
The CBV Complex is a small isolated topography and morphologic feature of about 25 X 35 km. Located on the second ring of the Humboldtianum basin and at about 20 km east of the topographic rim of the Belkovich crater.
Lied at the center of a thorium hotspot, it has elevated topography and high refectance compared to the surrounding highlands, The CBVC contains a range of volcanic features, such as irregular collapses, smalle domes, and several large volcanic constructs, like cones or cumulo-domes.
The LRO Diviner data instrument show evidence of silicic composition and rock-types, such as granite or rhyolite.
At some of the larger domes, andesite or dacite are may be present, which are materials never sampled on the Moon. Elsewhere, some pyroclastic deposits may also be present.
For a mission with a rover traversing across the complex, it could take in-situ measurements of silicic features and volcanic constructs at the alpha and beta-domes, the central portion of the collapsed caldera.
For a mission with a rover and samples return activities, with in-situ analysis, the vehicle takes its samples, store and return them to Earth.
Volcanoes in Lacus Veris
P60 Basaltic Unit - 53.8°W, 22.5°N
The P60 is located just in the South of the Aristarchus Plateau and is considered as the youngest mare basalt on the Moon at about 1 Ga. If is as young as its CSFD model suggest, the analyse of proprieties of the mare basalts would provide information about its evolution and the one of the lunar mantle at the end of the eruption process.
The Aristarchus region of Oceanus Procellarum is an area concentrated with lunar basalts, which were mainly produced by the last major phase of lunar volcanism on the western near side. A group of lunar samples and remote sensing scientists have carried out the extensive task of characterization of lunar mare soils with regard to their mineralogical and chemical makeup and regional geologic mapping.
An exploration mission should be a short lived, less than 1 lunar day, sample return mission that would bring back about 2 kg of rocks and regolith to Earth.
Another one could be sampling the P60 as part of a long-lived rover traverse, included the Aristarchus region.
Galileo SSI nearside image (resolution 1-2 km) that shows only mare regions; all other geologic units have been masked. The TiOz distribution shown in the histogram (Fig. Ib) is apparent in the image; very low (<1.0 wt% TiOz) and low (1.W.5 wt% TiOz) mare basalts dominate much of the mare surface area. Intermediate (4.5-7.5 wt% T102) mare basalts are colored orange and located in portions of Mare Tranquillitatis, parts of the western side of Mare Imbrium, and in large portions of Oceanus Procellarum. Small areas of intermediate mare basalts are also located in northeast Fecunditatis and the north end of Mare Humorum, as well as other locations. High Ti02 values are exhibited by mare deposits in portions of Mare Tranquillitatis and Oceanus Procellarum.
The titanium contents of lunar mare basalts -THOMAS A. GIGUERE',2*, G. JEFFREY TAYLOR', B. RAY HAWKE' AND PAUL G. LUCEY'
On November 5, 2011 the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) acquired a high resolution image of the Apollo 11 landing site.
On August 19, 2011 the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) acquired a high resolution image of the Apollo 12 landing site.
On August 18, 2011 the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) acquired a high resolution image of the Apollo 14 landing site.
On November 6, 2011 the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) acquired a high resolution image of the Apollo 16 landing site.
On August 14, 2011 the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) acquired a high resolution image of the Apollo 17 landing site.
More information can be found at http://lroc.sese.asu.edu.