April 4, 2014

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An Unfamiliar Earth View

image from Zond 8

Here is another beautiful photo from above the Moon's eastern territories towards Earth. Mmmm…curious angle between Earth terminator and lunar limb… the below terrain looks severely rugged…never saw Mare Smythii containing such large mountains… Right! This view was taken from above the western limb of the Moon, receding from Earth, by the circunlunar flight of soviet Zond 8 spacecraft on October 1970. The intended, but never achieved, Zond program as manned lunar vehicles left a successfull photography record of a lunar limb never seen in daylight by the Apollo program, but numerous times by this soviet craft since the Zond 3 flyby in July 20, 1965 (yes, exactly 4 years before). The rugged terrain of the lower half corresponds to the massive downrange ejecta blanket from the Orientale impact which erased whatever topography existed previously. The 350 km-diameter central depression with little mare basalt infill, might hold an impact melt sheet up to 15 km deep with a total volume of one million cubic km! Of course, the right hand dark circle corresponds to the Mare Pacificus dark ring (discovered in Zond 8 photos) which resulted from pyroclastic material expelled from a 7,5 by 16 km central vent. Too bad the Moon was not locked a quarter turn westward!

Patricio Leon
Note by CAW: Thx to Patricio for this timely contribution. I am packing tonight for a departure tomorrow morning to Rome where I'll participate in an IAU meeting about planetary nomenclature, and then head to Florence to see the Galileo Museum and other attractions - all the time eating great Italian food! I thank in advance Maurice Collins who will keep LPOD going, starting with the Saturday edition, until about April 15. If you have great images for Maurice to consider, send them to him at mauricejscollins@hotmail.com

Related Links
21st Century Atlas chart L5.

Yesterday's LPOD: French Moon

Tomorrow's LPOD: From Sea To Shining Sea


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