Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera

Splendors of Mare Smythii

Interior of fresh impact crater in the Smythii Constellation region of interest. Portion of image M126371530LE, scene width is 530 m [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].

The featured image shows the interior of a fresh impact crater (approximately 300 m in diameter) in the Mare Smythii Constellation region of interest. In the high-sun image above, it is hard to recognise topographic features because there are no shadows. The wider view below, paired with a lower-sun image of the same crater on the right, gives a sharper view of small scale features such as boulders.

A wider view of the same fresh crater under high-sun (left, image M126371530LE, incidence angle of 21°) and lower sun image with illumination from the east (right, image M113392375LE, incidence angle of 50°) [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].

The floor of this small crater looks like a basket of impact-melt covered rocks. Sampling the ejecta would help answer questions about the age of apparently recent impacts such as this one and the processes that cause their fresh rays to fade.

WAC context image of the Mare Smythii Constellation region of interest (40x40 km box is centered on the region), which includes the eastern portion of crater Schubert C. Arrow indicates the location of the fresh crater above. Image M115753790CE [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].

Mare Smythii is located on the eastern limb of the Moon and would provide an excellent place to sample relatively young (1-2 billion years old) basaltic lavas not represented in the sample collection. The western portion of the region of interest encompasses the crater Schubert C, the floor of which is fractured, possibly due to intrusions of lava beneath its surface - a great hypothesis for future explorers to assess.

Under high-sun, craters can take on an unusual appearance (left, M126371530LE). Under more typical illumination conditions, slumps of material and large boulders are revealed as the source of the high and low reflectance patterns (right, M113392375LE) [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].

Mare Smythii contains many beautiful features, several of which are highlighted in high-sun images such as the one above.

Read an ASU Apollo Image of the Week about Smythii Basin!

Explore the full NAC image for yourself.

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