July 14, 2011
Van Gogh Moon
image by NASA LOLA (Goddard Space Flight Center and MIT)
Is this a close up of Starry Night? Or perhaps a map of the local bubble? Double no. It is the latest release from the LRO LOLA team depicting slopes near the lunar south pole. The Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter makes ultra-precise distance measurements from the LRO spacecraft to small spots on the lunar surface. By differencing adjacent spots only 25 m apart the LOLA team derived this slope map, with red and white representing steep slopes greater than 25°, and dark blues being less than 5°. The steep inner rims of craters stand out like red Life-Savers, and one unidentified very steep-walled crater is at upper right. Most craters that are interesting are relatively fresh, and hence their walls are steep and will be dangerous to traverse.
Thanks to Patricio Leon for suggesting this image and title!
Rükl plate 73
Yesterday's LPOD: Can You Hear Me Moon
Tomorrow's LPOD: End of the Rille