Lunar South Pole
Date: 27 Sep 2010
The lunar South Pole is one of the most compelling places in our entire solar system. This region of the Moon is important for lunar scientists. The towering massifs of the South Pole-Aitken Basin can be accessed, and these massifs contain impact melt that will allow scientists to unambiguously determine the age of this huge basin. Furthermore, permanently shadowed craters may harbor reservoirs of ices and other volatile compounds that could serve as a tremendously valuable resource for future explorers. Additionally, these volatile deposits could contain a priceless record of water composition dating back to the beginning of our solar system, an incomparable dataset for astrobiology investigations. Finally, a few mountain peaks near the pole (just west and east of the rim Shackleton crater) are illuminated for extended periods of time, which could provide near-constant solar power for a permanent lunar outpost sometime in the far future.
Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University