January 19, 2009

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Happy Birthday Martin

image from Kaguya HD TV (NHK)|

America has produced thousands of great leaders, but few share names with lunar craters. A great farside crater first imaged in the 1960s is named KIng, and during that decade Martin Luther King conducted his civil rights work in the South and gave his historic speech in Washington, DC. Like Dr. King, the crater brings black and white together, as shown in this oblique view with the high definition TV on the Kaguya spacecraft. To the right of the crater the lunar surface is somewhat dark, and on the left it is much brighter. The brightness is from the odd cord of rays that stretches from Giordano Bruno to Necho; King's dark halo of ejecta seems to be superimposed on the rays. On this close to true color image the halo is slightly brown and an area north of the crater rim has a vaguely purple hue. King was an oblique impact with the projectile coming from the south, splashing the purplish impact melt over the low northern rim into a great pond. I am less sure what causes the abrupt, tilted color boundary on the northern wall. Perhaps, like the central peak, the wall may include sections of bright highland anorthosites and others of darker mare-like gabbro. On the Moon the color of a rock tells much about its chemical content, but Dr King warned not to judge the content of a person's character by the color of their skin.
Chuck Wood

Yesterday's LPOD: Classical Imbrium

Tomorrow's LPOD: Obama Moon


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