Thursday, September 9, 2021

The mosaic of the Moon

The NASA Galileo spacecraft took this false-color mosaic, constructed from a series of 53 images, as the spacecraft flew over the regions north of our Moon on December 7, 1992. The spacecraft was on its way to Jupiter.

  The mosaic helps us see variations in parts of the Moon's northern hemisphere. The bright pink areas are the lunar highlands, including those surrounding the oval lava-filled Crisium impact basin at the bottom of the image.  Shades of blue to orange indicate ancient volcanic lava flows.

  To the left of Crisium is the dark blue Mare Tranquillitatis, where Apollo 11 landed.  It is richer in titanium than the green and orange areas above it.  Thin mineral-rich soils associated with relatively recent meteorite or asteroid impacts are represented by light blue colors;  younger craters have prominent blue rays extending from them.

  The Galileo spacecraft, named after the Italian astronomer who discovered Jupiter's four largest moons, orbited the gas giant from 1995 to 2003. Its camera and nine other instruments have helped scientists make numerous discoveries, including one that indicates the moon is icy. of the planet Europa probably has an underground ocean surface.  Galileo's successor mission, Juno, is currently exploring Jupiter's giant to help us understand the origins of our solar system.

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  Credit: @NASA/JPL

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