LRO info at GSFC

http://lunar.gsfc.nasa.gov/

The Far Side of the Moon – And All the Way Around

3.11.11 – Because the moon is tidally locked (meaning the same side always faces Earth), it was not until 1959 that the farside was first imaged by the Soviet Luna 3 spacecraft. And what a surprise – unlike the widespread maria on the nearside, basaltic volcanism was restricted to a relatively few, smaller regions on the farside, and the battered highlands crust dominated. A different world from what we saw from Earth.

Of course, the cause of the farside/nearside asymmetry is an interesting scientific question. Past studies have shown that the crust on the farside is thicker, likely making it more difficult for magmas to erupt on the surface, limiting the amount of farside mare basalts. Why is the farside crust thicker? That is still up for debate, and in fact several presentations at this week’s Lunar and Planetary Science Conference attempt to answer this question.

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About SpecialK

Retired Navy Aviation Electronics Warrant Officer
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