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The southeastern margin of Mare Serenitatis and the surrounding Taurus-Littrow highlands are shown in this high Sun angle photograph. Also shown is the Apollo 17 landing site (large arrow) in a dark-floored valley between bright mountain massifs. The rectangle surrounding the landing site outlines the area covered by the two maps that follow in figure 61 and Figure 62 . The boundary between light mare material in the central part of the basin and the very dark mantling material surrounding the landing site area is indicated by several smaller arrows. The difference in albedo is much more pronounced in this picture than in the mosaic (fig. 58) at the beginning of this chapter because this picture was taken when the Sun was at a higher angle above the surface. Before the Apollo 17 landing, the dark material was interpreted to be a blanket of pyroclastic debris (volcanic cinders and ash). It was thought to be as young as Copernican in age (see fig. 13), and hence younger than most other mare materials elsewhere on the Moon. Analysis of samples returned from the Taurus-Littrow area has shown that while the dark material may be predominantly volcanic in origin, its age is considerably greater than had been predicted. The dark mantling material most likely consists of black and orange glass beads that form a layer on top of the valley floor basalt and are reworked into the regolith, thus causing the low albedo. -B.K.L.
Report Source: NASA SP-362, Page 69, Figure 60
This web page was created by Francis Ridge
for The Lunascan Project
Section Directory 25