Lunar Orbiter Photographs: Some Fundamental Observations

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Science  22 Dec 1967:
Vol. 158, Issue 3808, pp. 1529-1535
DOI: 10.1126/science.158.3808.1529


High-resolution photographs returned by Orbiters II and III typically show a surface pitted with small, perfectly circular craters as much as 50 meters in diameter, some of which are strongly clustered; these are superposed on larger, generally shallower craters and must be a mixture of primary and secondary impact craters. Rough terrain is less heavily cratered but is crossed by numerous closely spaced troughs and ridges up to 3 meters high. Terraces, which commonly occur at the base of steep slopes, are also crossed by these troughs and ridges and have relatively few craters. Fresh craters—craters whose exterior slopes are covered with material different from that of the intercrater areas—are rare and are surrounded by angular blocks up to 80 meters in diameter, in varying numbers; these craters apparently undergo gradual destruction to shallow gentle depressions. The frequency of craters 100 meters and more in diameter varies widely, even on level terrain; some of the highest concentrations of craters occur on rays.