The U.S. Geological Survey released the most comprehensive Moon Map called the Unified Geologic Map of the Moon, on April 20. This huge paintball brings a massive revolution to map the roads of our beloved neighborhood satellite.
These splashes of colors determine the discrete rock or sediment formation, including craters, basins, and ancient lava fields. For instance, “the darker, more earth tones are these highland-type terrains, and the reds and the purples tend to be more of these volcanic and lava flow materials,” says geologist James Skinner, who oversees the production of standardized maps for solar system bodies at the U.S. Geological Survey in Flagstaff, Ariz.
Putting together the Puzzle Pieces
Scientists at USGS created this incredible map combining the information from six regional lunar maps crafted during the Apollo mission, also from some other recent spacecraft missions, at a 1:5,000,000 scale. Geographical software helped in stitching all the parts into one coherent whole. The modern data include views of the north and south lunar poles made by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, and observations around the equator from the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency’s SELENE lunar orbiter.
This lunar cartography project was trickier than just fitting Apollo-era maps together and using new data to tweak the details — in part because the edges of the regional maps didn’t line up. Many surface features at the boundaries between neighboring maps were labeled with inconsistent names, descriptions, and ages. Also, the rock samples that have been collected on lunar missions contributed to the crafting.
A distinct group created the Apollo-era maps because of that there were some differences. When different groups look at a piece of information, contrasting points of view came into the act. And this all leads to conflicts!
But finally, skinner and colleagues reconciled those discrepancies by analyzing information to figure out the proper identifications for different surface features. That allowed the team to draw up a comprehensive geologic map of the whole moon.
Now the scientists have the topological data about the location of craters, crests, fissures, faults, and all other impressions on Moon’s surface. The USGS standardized rock names, descriptions, and ages, all of that information which was earlier scattered, scraped and collected all in one glorious map. And there’s more to come they said.
This beautiful celestial body fascinated masses. We can look at it and figure out how rich it is in terms of its topography.
“This map is a culmination of a decades-long project,” says geologist Corey Fortezzo, from USGS. “It provides vital information for new scientific studies by connecting the exploration of specific sites on the moon with the rest of the lunar surface.”
The incredible moon map can help us to plan future Moon Missions. It guides astronauts to accurate landing locations plus help out to navigate the places worthy of investigations and researches.
We can figure out and study Moon’s geology at it’s best, getting to know about it’s 4.5 billion-year history. How it was born and evolved, along with the objects collided with it.
No doubt it will be a pure asset for NASA’s next mission. Nasa is planning to send humans to the moon again in 2024.
(To know more about what those colors mean, check out this map here.)
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