Polygonal fractures on Tycho ejecta deposits

Polygonal fractures on a flow lobe of impact melt splashed out of Tycho crater. Image scale is 0.52 meters/pixel, incidence angle is 69.1°, sunlight is from left [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].

Tycho is a young and prominent rayed crater on the lunar nearside. During the impact that formed Tycho crater a large mass of impact melt was thrown out on its north side that resulted in a series of beautiful flow patterns. The melt ponded in several topographic lows, and as they cooled their upper crusts fractured, often in polygonal patterns.

Today's Featured Image shows a set of crisply preserved polygonal fractures. Small chains of pit chains are also seen in conjunction with the fractures. Are these pits nascent fractures that never fully developed? Or perhaps partially collapsed tubes that melt flowed through? If the latter, might there be open passages that astronauts could venture into and explore?

LROC WAC 100m/pixel mosaic around Tycho crater over-lain by WAC color coded DTM 500m/pixel (DLR, Germany). Image center is 43.3°S latitude, 348.6°W longitude. Blue box and yellow star indicate the locations of today's full Featured Image [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].

Explore the polygonal fractures near Tycho by viewing the full NAC image!

The topographic color was produced as a by-product of stereo analysis of the WAC global dataset. Producing the global Digital Elevation Model (DEM) is a big job being led by LROC team members at the German Aerospace Center (DLR; English version) in Berlin.

Related posts:

Look at that flow!, Fractured Impact Melt, Fragmented Impact Melt, Natural Bridge on the Moon!The Floor of Tycho - Constellation Region of Interest

Published by Hiroyuki Sato on 14 June 2011