National Aeronautics and Space Administration Logo
Follow this link to skip to the main content NASA Banner
Solar System Exploration
Multimedia
Lunar South Pole-Aitken Basin
Lunar South Pole-Aitken Basin (click to enlarge)
 
 

Lunar South Pole-Aitken Basin

This image centers on the South Pole-Aitken (SPA) basin, the largest impact basin on the Moon (diameter = 2600 km), and one of the largest impact basins in the Solar System.


The distance from its depths to the tops of the highest surrounding peaks is over 15 km, almost twice the height of Mount Everest on Earth. SPA is interesting for a number of reasons. To begin with, large impact events can remove surficial materials from local areas and bring material from beneath the impact craters to, or closer to, the surface. The larger the crater, the deeper the material that can be exposed. As SPA is the deepest impact basin on the Moon, more than 8 km (5 mi) deep, the deepest lunar crustal materials should be exposed here. In fact, the Moon's lower crust may be revealed in areas within SPA: something not found anywhere else on the Moon.

Credit: NASA/Goddard



Awards and Recognition   Solar System Exploration Roadmap   Contact Us   Site Map   Print This Page
NASA Official: Kristen Erickson
Advisory: Dr. James Green, Director of Planetary Science
Outreach Manager: Alice Wessen
Curator/Editor: Phil Davis
Science Writer: Autumn Burdick
Producer: Greg Baerg
Webmaster: David Martin
> NASA Science Mission Directorate
> Budgets, Strategic Plans and Accountability Reports
> Equal Employment Opportunity Data
   Posted Pursuant to the No Fear Act
> Information-Dissemination Policies and Inventories
> Freedom of Information Act
> Privacy Policy & Important Notices
> Inspector General Hotline
> Office of the Inspector General
> NASA Communications Policy
> USA.gov
> ExpectMore.gov
> NASA Advisory Council
> Open Government at NASA
Last Updated: 22 Dec 2011