Apollo 16: What young really means on the moon

Mar 09, 2012
Area on the southeastern rim of North Ray crater, explored by Apollo 16 astronauts John Young and Charlie Duke, revealed in a new low-altitude image. Area shown is 300 meters wide, black arrows show foot tracks. (NAC Image M175179080L,R) Credit: NASA Goddard/Arizona State University

(PhysOrg.com) -- One of the main goals of the Apollo 16 mission was to explore and sample a young bright-rayed crater aptly named North Ray crater (890 m diameter). Its high reflectivity is due to its young age.

During an , geologic material is excavated and spread around a crater. The deepest material ends up near the rim, and shallower material is thrown farther. The pre-existing surface was mature, meaning that its brightness or albedo was diminished over time due to solar wind and bombardment (space weathering). The fresh material had not suffered these effects, thus its high albedo.

This space weathering process takes hundreds of millions of years to complete. At the the time of the mission scientists did not know the age of North Ray crater, nor did they know as much as we know today about the details of the space weathering process, so an important goal was to learn what young really means on the Moon.

Explore further: Obama salutes 45th anniversary of US astronauts' Moon landing

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Kuiper's color close-up

Feb 14, 2012

The pale-orange coloration around the 39-mile (62-km) -wide Kuiper crater on Mercury is evident in this image, a color composition made from targeted images acquired by NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft on ...

Crater with dark and bright ejecta

Jan 27, 2012

(PhysOrg.com) -- This Dawn FC (framing camera) image is centered on a small, young, fresh crater with bright and dark ejecta rays extending from it. This image is a brightness image, which is taken directly ...

The Floor of Tycho Crater

Jan 14, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Tycho Crater is an one of the most prominent craters on the moon. It appears as a bright spot in the southern highlands with rays of bright material that stretch across much of the nearside. ...

Opportunity studying a football-field size crater

Dec 23, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- On Dec. 16, 2010, NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity reached a crater about the size of a football field-some 90 meters (295 feet) in diameter. The rover team plans to use cameras and ...

LRO Sees Apollo 14's Rocket Booster Impact Site

Oct 08, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- A distinctive crater about 35 meters (115 feet) in diameter was formed when the Apollo 14 Saturn IVB (upper stage) was intentionally impacted into the moon. The energy of the impact created ...

Recommended for you

New launch date set for ISS delivery vessel

6 hours ago

A robot ship will be launched from Kourou, French Guiana, after a five-day delay on July 29 to deliver provisions to the International Space Station, space transport firm Arianespace said Tuesday.

The heart of an astronaut, five years on

8 hours ago

The heart of an astronaut is a much-studied thing. Scientists have analyzed its blood flow, rhythms, atrophy and, through journal studies, even matters of the heart. But for the first time, researchers are ...

Image: Kaleidoscopic view of Mars

14 hours ago

Astrophotographer Leo Aerts from Belgium took advantage of the recent opposition of Mars and captured the Red Planet both "coming and going" in this montage of images taken from October 2013 to June of 2014. ...

User comments : 0