Fly Over a Pristine Lunar Crater

by Nancy Atkinson on February 6, 2013

Linné crater on the Moon is one of the youngest, most well-preserved lunar impact craters. This cone-shaped crater thought to be less than 10 million years old – a mere whippersnapper when it comes to impact craters. Scientists have been studying this crater for years, using it to investigate how cratering occurs in mare basalt. This “barnstorming” flyover video was created with data from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Color coded shaded relief map of Linné crater (2.2 km diameter) created from an LROC NAC stereo topographic model. The colors represent elevations; cool colors are lowest and hot colors are highest. Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University.

Color coded shaded relief map of Linné crater (2.2 km diameter) created from an LROC NAC stereo topographic model. The colors represent elevations; cool colors are lowest and hot colors are highest. Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University.

LRO helped discern the actual shape of this crater, and other craters too. It was once thought that the circular Linné crater was bowl-shaped, and that set a precedent for understanding the morphology of craters on the Moon, and also on Earth. But laser-mapping observations by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter determined Linné is actually more of a truncated inverted cone, with a flattened interior floor surrounded by sloping walls that rise up over half a kilometer to its rim.

It’s a magnificent crater, and enjoy this unique chance to see it up close.

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

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