IMAGES: Shooting the Moon

Science  12 Nov 2004:
Vol. 306, Issue 5699, pp. 1109
DOI: 10.1126/science.306.5699.1109a

In the last year, the moon has put on a show for earthly observers, with two eclipses. If the events have whetted your appetite for lunar images, this pair of sites will allow you to explore the moon on large and small scales. The gallery from the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, Texas, supplies a digital version of NASA's classic 1971 atlas, a compilation of photos snapped by the Lunar Orbiter missions. Armchair astronauts can search for the 114-km-across H. G. Wells crater, the pockmarked Mare Australis, and other surface features. You can also browse the text of the original atlas.

We think of the moon as gray, but under a microscope some of its rocks are surprisingly colorful. For a sample, check out this primer on moon rocks and soil from geologist Kurt Hollocher of Union College in Schenectady, New York. The multicolored speckles above come from impact melt breccia, rock that partially melted when a meteorite or other wandering object slammed into the moon.

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