An article entitled "Geologic characteristics of the Chang'E-3 exploration region"was published online for SCIENCE CHINA Physics, Mechanics & Astronomy on January 21, 2014. It presents some new results on the geologic characteristics of the Chang'E-3 exploration region.
Chang'E-3 mission is the second step in China's lunar exploration program. It has achieved the desired engineering goals by successfully soft landing on the lunar surface. Now people are expecting the lander and rover to send back more and better scientific data which is believed to help fulfill its scientific aims and further our understanding of the Moon.
Chang'E-3 landed successfully in the northern part of Mare Imbrium which had never been visited by any lunar landers or rovers. Chinese planetary scientists are now working on the detailed geological interpretation of the exploration area using multi-source data. With morphological and geological analysis, they hope to nail down the major scientific problems for the target area and the scientific discoveries that could be made, thus laying a scientific foundation for the planning of the lunar exploration. Under the leadership of
Professor Long Xiao from China University of Geosciences (Wuhan), a team of young planetary scientists including Jiannan Zhao, Jun Huang and others have mapped the exploration area and acquired large amounts of information on topography, geomorphology, geologic structure and composition of the landing site and its adjacent region. These results will be published in SCIENCE CHINA Physics, Mechanics & Astronomy, Vol. 54, No. 3, 2014 (pages 569).
In this work, the authors studied the geologic characteristics of the Chang'E-3 exploration region, and produced a geologic map of a 1°×1° region centered near the landing site. They also analyzed the topography and slope using the Digital Terrain Model generated from Terrain Camera (TC) images. The exploration region is overall relatively flat and the altitude of the landing site is about 2610 m. The morphology and classification of the impact craters and wrinkle ridges in the area were studied, and the wrinkle ridges were supposed to have different formation mechanisms. After calculating FeO and TiO2 abundances using Multiband Imager (MI) data, two basaltic units are confirmed: the northern part belongs to Imbrian low-Ti/very-low-Ti mare basalts, and the middle to southern part is Eratosthenian low-Ti/high-Ti mare basalts. In addition the thickness of the Eratosthenian basaltic units was estimated, and two traverses for Yutu rover were proposed, laying a scientific basis for the planning of the lunar exploration.
At this moment, Chang'E-3 is conducting its second and third lunar day exploration work as planned, and all the scientific payloads are in good condition. We hope that the Team of Core Scientists on Chang'E-3 Mission Scientific Data Application and Study would make a best use of the newly acquired data to thoroughly study the landing area, and make more discoveries in morphology, geologic structure, material composition and subsurface structure.
See the article:
Cite | ZHAO J N, HUANG J, QIAO L, et al. Geologic characteristics of the Chang'E-3 exploration region. SCIENCE CHINA Physics, Mechanics & Astronomy, 2014, 57(3): 569-576.
PDF (5088KB): http://phys.scichina.com:8083/sciGe/fileup/PDF/11433_OF_13_5399.pdf
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