Featured Image - 02/12/2008
A Distinctive Lunar Crater
Spectacular oblique Apollo Metric frame AS15-M-0757 showing a portion of Tsiolkovskiy Crater (180-km diameter). The crater was first identified and named after visionary space pioneer Konstantin Tsiolkovskiy from the first images of the lunar farside acquired by the Soviet Luna III robotic spacecraft in 1959. Tsiolkovskiy Crater is filled with mare basalts, and many geological and geomorphological features such as grabens can be seen within the crater, making this a particularly interesting place on the Moon to work and study!
This photograph provides an excellent view of the central peak, rim, and the ejecta blanket of Tsiolkovskiy crater. The central peaks of larger lunar craters are of particular scientific interest, because they expose rocks uplifted from great depth during the impact process.
Sampling central peak materials gives geologists vital insights into the composition of the lunar crust at depth, and are thus high-priority scientific targets for the next generation of human and robotic lunar explorers. The center coordinates for this image are 19.8° S / 132.6° E with an approximate pixel size of 8.6 m/pixel.
An oblique view of Tsiolkovskiy Crater on the far side of the Moon. (Apollo Image AS15-M-0757 [NASA/JSC/Arizona State University])