Mission News

Splendors of Mare Smythii - Fresh Impact Craters
interior of fresh impact crater Interior of fresh impact crater in the Smythii region. Portion of image M126371530LE, scene width is 530 m Credit: NASA/Goddard/ASU
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The featured image shows the interior of a fresh impact crater (approximately 300 m in diameter) in the Mare Smythii region. In the high-sun image above, it is hard to recognize topographic features because there are no shadows. The wider view below, paired with a lower-sun image of the same crater on the right, gives a sharper view of small scale features such as boulders.

Closeup of a crater showing high and low angle sun A wider view of the same fresh crater under high-sun (left, image M126371530LE, incidence angle of 21°) and lower sun image with illumination from the east (right, image M113392375LE, incidence angle of 50°) Credit: NASA/Goddard/ASU
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The floor of this small crater looks like a basket of impact-melt covered rocks, containing secrets about the age of recent impacts and the processes that cause their fresh rays to fade.

context image showing fresh crater within Mare Smythii WAC context image of the Mare Smythii region (40x40 km box is centered on the region), which includes the eastern portion of crater Schubert C. Arrow indicates the location of the fresh crater above. Image M115753790CE Credit: NASA/Goddard/ASU
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Mare Smythii, located on the eastern limb of the Moon, contains relatively young (1-2 billion years old) basaltic lavas. The western portion of the region encompasses the crater Schubert C, the floor of which is fractured, possibly due to intrusions of lava beneath its surface.

Closeup of a crater showing high and low angle sun Under high-sun, craters can take on an unusual appearance (left, M126371530LE). Under more typical illumination conditions, slumps of material and large boulders are revealed as the source of the high and low reflectance patterns (right, M113392375LE) Credit: NASA/Goddard/ASU
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Mare Smythii contains many beautiful features, several of which are highlighted in high-sun images such as the one above.