January 14, 2007

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A Missed Centenary

images from Lunar Orbiter I-M40 and Clementine

I missed it. Perhaps the greatest pioneer of space exploration was born one hundred years (and two days) ago on Jan 12, 1907. Sergei Pavlovich Korolev designed the world’s first ballistic missile which became the basis for the Soviet Union’s space launch vehicles. Korolev and Werner von Braun were contemporaries and achieved comparable successes, but Korolev’s name was a secret while von Braun was widely feted in the West. Korolev won on the Moon - the crater honoring him is a 440 km wide basin on the farside, while von Braun has a 60 km crater on the limb edge of Oceanus Procellarum. The basin has a partial inner ring that is well preserved on the east and very fragmentary on the west. The moat between the two rims is quite smooth on the west side (craters disturb the eastern moat), suggesting that it might be an older type of lava. The high Sun Clementine image to the right doesn’t give much hint of dark mare type material - someday we will learn if such light plains are impact ejecta or an unsampled type of volcanism. Anyway, happy birthday, Sergei!.

Chuck Wood

Related Links:
A brief biography
A closeup

Yesterday's LPOD: Deep, Young and Ashy

Tomorrow's LPOD: Stereo Jansen


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