Von Kármán Crater: Awaiting A Visitor

LROC WAC mosaic of Von Karman crater
Von Kármán crater (186 kilometer diameter), a treasure house of geologic landforms! LROC Wide Angle Camera mosaic, five degree latitude and longitude grid [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].

If all goes well, on January 3rd or 4th the Chang'e 4 spacecraft will gently set down on the floor of Von Kármán crater (186 kilometers diameter, 176.2°E, 44.5°S). This will be the second soft landing on the Moon for the China National Space Administration, and the first ever landing on the farside. And what a site! Von Kármán crater and its surroundings hold a wealth a of geologic targets: mare basalts, low relief volcanic constructs, massive landslides, secondary craters, and swirls (just outside Von Kármán crater). Not to mention the spectacular views!

Von Kármán crater would be a worthy target for future crewed landings. When did the crater form? What is the age, origin and composition of farside basalts (and thus the farside mantle)? What are those volcanic constructs (lower left of the opening image)? Is there any KREEPy material in the local mare or highlands? What is the age of Antoniadi crater (its ejecta lies on the floor of Von Kármán crater)? Explore this fascinating crater and its surroundings in this zoomify mosaic.

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Published by Mark Robinson on 2 January 2019