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Moonrise: Sampling the South Pole-Aitken Basin to Address Problems of Solar System SignificanceA mission to land in the giant South Pole-Aitken (SPA) Basin on the Moon's southern farside and return a sample to Earth for analysis is a high priority for Solar System Science. Such a sample would be used to determine the age of the SPA impact; the chronology of the basin, including the ages of basins and large impacts within SPA, with implications for early Solar System dynamics and the magmatic history of the Moon; the age and composition of volcanic rocks within SPA; the origin of the thorium signature of SPA with implications for the origin of exposed materials and thermal evolution of the Moon; and possibly the magnetization that forms a strong anomaly especially evident in the northern parts of the SPA basin. It is well known from studies of the Apollo regolith that rock fragments found in the regolith form a representative collection of many different rock types delivered to the site by the impact process (Fig. 1). Such samples are well documented to contain a broad suite of materials that reflect both the local major rock formations, as well as some exotic materials from far distant sources. Within the SPA basin, modeling of the impact ejection process indicates that regolith would be dominated by SPA substrate, formed at the time of the SPA basin-forming impact and for the most part moved around by subsequent impacts. Consistent with GRAIL data, the SPA impact likely formed a vast melt body tens of km thick that took perhaps several million years to cool, but that nonetheless represents barely an instant in geologic time that should be readily apparent through integrated geochronologic studies involving multiple chronometers. It is anticipated that a statistically significant number of age determinations would yield not only the age of SPA but also the age of several prominent nearby basins and large craters within SPA. This chronology would provide a contrast to the Imbrium-dominated chronology of the nearside Apollo samples and an independent test of the timing of the lunar cataclysm.
Document ID
20160005243
Acquisition Source
Johnson Space Center
Document Type
Abstract
Authors
Zeigler, R. A.
(NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Jolliff, B. L.
(Washington Univ. Saint Louis, MO, United States)
Korotev, R. L.
(Washington Univ. Saint Louis, MO, United States)
Shearer, C. K.
(New Mexico Univ. Albuquerque, NM, United States)
Date Acquired
April 21, 2016
Publication Date
May 18, 2016
Subject Category
Lunar And Planetary Science And Exploration
Report/Patent Number
JSC-CN-36140
Meeting Information
Meeting: Annual European Lunar Symposium
Location: Amsterdam
Country: Netherlands
Start Date: May 18, 2016
End Date: May 19, 2016
Sponsors: Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Public Use Permitted.
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