Featured Image - 05/27/2008
Apollo HD Movie
You can experience an amazing birds-eye High Definition (HD) view of the lunar surface similar to what future lunar explorers will see through their window. The movie frames are taken from 12 consecutive Metric Camera frames snapped from Apollo 15 Orbit 60 (frames AS15-M-2077 to AS15-M-2088). The journey begins near the impact crater Herodotus E (27.5 N, 304.3 E) and ends at crater Delisle (29.6 N, 325.2 E).
As you watch the HD movie, you traverse Oceanus Procellarum, the largest mare on the Moon. Like the other lunar maria, Oceanus Procellarum is solidified magma from ancient volcanic eruptions that flooded vast expanses with very fluid magma. Similar to water, the lava filled in low areas with a flat, smooth surface. Of course, on the Moon "smooth" is a relative term - at very high resolution (7 meters/pixel) small impact craters and sinuous channels give the flat plain a rough look (more commonly known as sinuous rilles). Scientists believe that these deep channels are the ancient remains of collapsed lava tubes and/or extinct lava flows. It is thought that the rilles begin near a vent and zigzag and split into smaller channels erosively carved into the lunar surface by the hot flowing lava.
Another common structure in lunar maria are wrinkle ridges. Wrinkle ridges are tectonic structures formed when lava cools and contracts resulting in a combination of folding, faulting, and buckling of the newly emplaced mare basalts. Astronauts interested in exploring a wrinkle ridge would want to have their Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV) ready for a long trip. Wrinkle ridges, tectonic features that express folding and faulting of the mare basalts, are usually made up of two distinct landforms, a broad (tens of kilometers wide), low-relief hill or arch and a narrower (several kilometers wide), higher-relief ridge that sits on top of the arch. As the astronauts started driving up the arch, they would hardly notice the climb up its gentle slopes. When they reached the higher-relief ridge, they would realize that the slopes had become much steeper. In places, they might have to zigzag the LRV back and forth up the ridge to get to the top. From the top of the ridge, they would have a great view, as they would be several hundred meters above the surrounding mare surface. As they made their way down, they might want to spend some time at the base of the ridge looking for a subtle break or offset of the mare basalts that could be evidence of an underlying thrust fault.
Click on the image below to play the movie.
Apple Quicktime (384x216 resolution, 34.3MB)
A medium resolution Apple Quicktime (960x540, 186.7MB) and an HD resolution Apple Quicktime (1920x1080, 282.4MB) formatted movie is also available for viewing and download. It's very large, so make sure you're using a fast connection!
The figure below shows the part of the lunar surface you can see in this movie.
Click here to see the full resolution image map from LPI.