Science.-New lunar map to guide future exploration missions

05/04/2021 View of the far south side of the moon’s mean latitude showing the SPA basin outlined in white and the Schrödinger basin outlined in yellow (modified from LPI Lunar South Pole Atlas) LPI RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY POLICY


A new lunar map includes routes that can guide future exploration missions in the Schrodinger Basin, a geologically important area of ​​our satellite.

The map was created by a team of interns at the Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) and is published in The Planetary Science Journal.

The researchers identified significant geological features in the Schrödinger basin, located near the lunar south pole. Schrödinger is the second youngest impact basin on the Moon and includes various features of the crust and rock types that are important for understanding the geological history of the Moon.

“When the Schrödinger basin formed, some of these lithologies (the general physical characteristics of rocks) may have been elevated from far below the lunar surface,” study author and graduate student Ellen Czaplinski said in a statement. from the University of Arkansas. “Therefore, investigating these rocks closely is extremely important to meet high-priority scientific goals.”

In 2007, the United States National Research Council outlined the scientific objectives and goals of future lunar missions, including exploring the Aitken Basin of the South Pole, the oldest and deepest impact basin on the Moon. Because the Schrödinger Basin lies within the Aitken Basin, it presents a unique opportunity to study rocks that possibly originated deep below the surface, Czaplinski said.

“Many of these rock types are exposed on the surface in multi-kilometer exposures of rock outcrops in Schrödinger’s ‘ring of peak’, an inner ring of uplifted rocks that formed with the basin. Sampling these rocks within the Peak ring provides high scientific potential to better understand the context of Schrödinger lithologies, “he adds.

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Along with the map, the researchers created three potential routes for robotic rovers to travel through the Schrödinger basin to collect high-priority rock samples.

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