Taking a Peek at Icarus

The central peak of Icarus crater rising out of the shadows to greet a new lunar day! Image width is approximately 10 km, north is to the right, LROC M1124685518 [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].

Icarus crater is one of a kind on the Moon; its central peak rises higher than about half its rim. Most central peaks rise only about halfway to the crater rim. Icarus' large, rounded central peak resembles that of Alpetragius on the eastern limb of Mare Nubium. The disproportionate size of the central peak may be because both Icarus and Alpetragius are close in diameter to the transition between central peaks and peak rings.

A reduced resolution image of the full NAC oblique looking from east to west across Icarus crater (5.348°S, 186.579°E). Notice the gentle slopes of the terraces on the crater wall and many superposed craters that suggest that Icarus is quite old. Icarus is approximately 94 km in diameter [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].

Icarus is located just west of Korolev crater on the lunar farside. Like the floor of Korolev, the floor of Icarus is covered with relatively smooth light plains material that can be seen outside the crater as well, filling not only crater floors but also the surface between craters in the highlands (See WAC context image below). These light plains were deposited during the formation of the Orientale basin, which is located over 1500 km away! The specific mechanism by which the light plains were emplaced is still under investigation, but the plains are likely made of ejecta produced during the formation of the Orientale basin. 

LRO WAC image of Icarus crater and vicinity (5.49°S, 186.74°E) in the lunar highlands. Image width is approximately 365 km, Korolev crater and the Orientale basin are both located to the east of this site[NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].

See the full size NAC oblique below!

Related Posts:

Stopped In Its Tracks

Overprinting Orientale

Crater Mendeleev

Published by H. Meyer on 20 February 2014