Copernicus: A Regional Probe of the Lunar Interior

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  07 May 1993:
Vol. 260, Issue 5109, pp. 797-801
DOI: 10.1126/science.260.5109.797


Earth-based telescopic spectral imaging techniques were used to document the spatial distribution of crater materials within the large lunar crater Copernicus at the subkilometer scale on the basis of spectral ultraviolet—visible—near-infrared characteristics. The proposed spectral mixing analysis leads to a first-order mapping of the impact melt material within the crater. Olivine was detected not only within the three central peaks but also along a significant portion of the crater rim. Consideration of an olivine-bearing end-member in the mixing model emphasizes the overall morphological pattern of the rim and wall terraces in the associated fraction image. The identification of widely exposed olivine units supports the idea that the lower crust and possibly the lunar mantle itself are regionally at shallow depth.