For the first time, scientists from the USGS have fully mapped the complete lunar surface, in partnership with NASA and the Lunar Planetary Institute.
The lunar map named the Unified Geologic Map of the Moon, will serve as the definitive blueprint of the moon’s surface geology for future human missions and will be invaluable for the worldwide scientific community, educators, and the public-at-large.
The virtual map is available online now and exhibits the moon’s geology in unimaginable detail (1:5,000,000 scale).
To create the brand new digital map, scientists used information from six Apollo-era regional maps along with updated data from recent satellite missions to the moon.
The existing historical maps had been redrawn to align them with the trendy data units, thus preserving previous observations and interpretations.
Along with merging new and old information, USGS researchers developed a unified description of the stratigraphy, or rock layers, of the moon. This resolved issues from previous maps where rock names, descriptions and ages had sometimes been inconsistent.
Elevation data for the moon’s equatorial area came from stereo observations collected by the Terrain Camera on the latest Selenological and Engineering Explorer (SELENE) mission headed by JAXA, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.