March 29, 2009

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Cataloging Craters

image from A New Lunar Impact Crater Database by A. Losiak, D.E. Wilhelms, C.J. Byrne, K. Thaisen, S.Z. Weider, T. Kohout, K. O’Sulllivan, and D.A. Kring

Cataloging craters is coming back into fashion. Back in the 1960s I was involved in cataloging lunar craters in preparation for Apollo, and now a new generation of catalogers is doing it to for the Constellation program. The map above shows a sample product derived from a new lunar database compiled by summer interns at the Lunar and Planetary Institute. The figure shows locations and sizes of all lunar craters larger than 50 km in diameter that have USGS stratigraphic age assessments. The ages come from the magisterial Geologic History of the Moon by Don Wilhelms, as recently compiled into a list (another new catalog!) and updated by Wilhelms. These new catalogs, presented at the 40th Lunar & Planetary Science Conference, inspired me to add a page to the Lunar-Wiki about lunar crater catalogs. This is a growing list of compilations of crater data. Few of these catalogs are online, and the best one of all (Wood and Andersson, 1973) was never published. The map above indicates another opportunity. There is no complete catalog of farside craters (that is why few are shown on the image) for only named and lettered craters are included in most familiar existing farside list. Will someone use the Clementine and the forthcoming Selene and LRO images to create a new high quality catalog of the entire Moon?

Chuck Wood

Yesterday's LPOD: More Cryptomare

Tomorrow's LPOD: Golden Glows


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