Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter’s close look at the fresh Linné Crater helps scientists to understand how craters on Earth and other worlds evolve over time. Surprise: They’re cones, not bowls. Credit: NASA GSFC

Scientists trying to understand the evolution of impact craters on Earth and other rocky bodies have found a good case study on the moon. Linné Crater, which lies in the moon’s Mare Serenitatis region, is just 1.4 miles (2.2 kilometers) wide, but extremely young and beautifully preserved.

Craters don’t erode nearly as quickly on the moon as they do on Earth, where wind and water quickly reshape and fill in craters. But Linné is pristine even for a lunar crater; it shows no signs of any subsequent major impacts, retaining its original shape.

Scientists had thought simple lunar craters such as Linné should be bowl-shaped. But observations by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft (LRO) show that Linné is actually an inverted cone.


Color coded shaded relief map of Linné crater with elevation scale bar created from an LROC NAC stereo topographic model. The colors represent elevations; cool colors are lowest and hot colors are highest. Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University.

LROC stereo images provide scientists with information critical for unraveling the physics involved in impact events. High resolution topographic models also provide the means to make synthetic views of the crater from any angle. By creating hundreds of such views and slightly changing the view point for each image a dramatic fly around movie appears on the screen!


This flyover was generated from 3D model of Linné Crater with the image draped on top. The 3D model uses the DTM derived from LROC NAC stereo images. Credit: NASA GSFC/ASU

For more information visit the LROC News Page.

Posted by: Soderman/NLSI Staff
Source: NASA

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