A geomorphologic sketch map of Kepler, plotted on a mosaic of WAC images. Credit: Ohman and Kring

Remote sensing is an important first step before further manned exploration of the Moon, and craters with well-preserved melt-rich rocks are good targets for photogeologic analysis and later sampling by robotic and manned missions. From the point of view of exploration, numerous fractures and pits in melt-rich floor materials not only enable detailed studies of melt-related processes of impact crater formation, but also provide potential shelters for longer duration manned lunar missions.

Kepler crater on the lunar nearside has been recommended as one of the sites for such studies. NLSI’s LPI-JSC team, led by Teemu Ohman and David Kring, used LRO imagery and topographic data in combination with images from the Kaguya terrain camera and other image data sets to construct a new map of Kepler crater.

The team’s report characterizes the distribution and diversity of impact melt-rich lithologies, places some constraints on their rheological properties, and provides general guidelines for robotic or manned scientific exploration of the Kepler area. In addition to a scientific analysis of the impact melts at Kepler, a section is included which describes where one would land and sample those melts for a sample return mission designed to address NRC objectives.

Click here to access the full paper.

Posted by: Soderman/NLSI Staff
Source: NLSI team

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