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Murchison Crater
Murchison Crater (click to enlarge)

Murchison Crater

Oblique view to the northeast across 57 km diameter Murchison crater (center) from Lunar Orbiter III. Imbrium lies ~350 km to the northwest (out of the image to the left).

Murchison predates the massive impact that created the Imbrium Basin, and was eroded by debris from that event. An oblique image of Murchison taken by Lunar Orbiter III illustrates how this area was sculpted by material thrown out during the impact: Imbrium lies far (>350 km) to the northwest of Murchison and its ejecta streamed from left to right across the terrain seen here creating linear features, which are especially apparent in the distance.

Murchison has been identified as a region of interest because of the proximity of highlands regolith and the ponding of impact melt ejected during the creation of the Imbrium Basin. Several important questions could be investigated by future explorers to this site. Sampling the Imbrium impact melt would allow absolute age dating of this critical event, the exposed highlands in the crater walls and floor samples several km of the ancient lunar crust, and the dark light contrast exposed in the image suggests a local event.

Credit: NASA/LPI

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Last Updated: 28 Dec 2012