Tycho is a young and prominent rayed crater on the lunar nearside. During the impact that formed Tycho crater a large mass of impact melt was thrown out on its north side that resulted in a series of beautiful flow patterns. The melt ponded in several topographic lows, and as they cooled their upper crusts fractured, often in polygonal patterns.
Today's Featured Image shows a set of crisply preserved polygonal fractures. Small chains of pit chains are also seen in conjunction with the fractures. Are these pits nascent fractures that never fully developed? Or perhaps partially collapsed tubes that melt flowed through? If the latter, might there be open passages that astronauts could venture into and explore?
Explore the polygonal fractures near Tycho by viewing the full NAC image!
The topographic color was produced as a by-product of stereo analysis of the WAC global dataset. Producing the global Digital Elevation Model (DEM) is a big job being led by LROC team members at the German Aerospace Center (DLR; English version) in Berlin.
Posted by Hiroyuki Sato on June 14, 2011 11:00 UTC.