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Views of South Pole-Aitken Basin
Views of South Pole-Aitken Basin (click to enlarge)

Views of South Pole-Aitken Basin

The South Pole-Aitken Basin is a prominent lunar feature in many respects. In addition to being the principal shaper of topography (top right) of the farside of the Moon, the basin floor is the primary compositional anomaly of the farside and the highlands of the Moon.

The albedo map (top left) shows that the floor of the basin is markedly darker than the highlands surrounding it. Both iron (bottom left) and titanium (bottom right) concentration maps show enhanced values associated with the basin floor materials. These results suggest that the floor of the South Pole-Aitkin Basin is made up of relatively dark, dense rocks similar to those on Earth's ocean floor. Whether this is a consequence of volcanic resurfacing or of the basin stripping off the less dense, lighter-colored upper crust, is being investigated.

Image Credit: Clementine Science Group, Lunar and Planetary Institute

Credit: Lunar and Planetary Institute

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Last Updated: 19 Aug 2008