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Looking westward from the Apollo 16 CM toward the Descartes landing site southwest of Tranquility Base. To find the site, look straight along the gamma ray spectrometer boom one additional boomlength to the area between two small bright craters. The distance on the surface is 71 km. This part of the Moon's near side, the central highlands, is essentially devoid of maria. Two major goals of this mission were to study the smooth plains immediately west of (above) the site and the peculiar furrowed and hummocky terrain that dominates the center of the frame. Before the mission, both units were thought to have been formed by volcanism, but now, after analysis of the samples, they are interpreted as ejecta deposits resulting from very large impact events. The plains and furrowed materials have partly covered and masked older craters in this region, including Descartes (D) at the left of the picture, so that fewer craters are visible here than in most farside and many near-side highland areas. The more mountainous terrain along the bottom (east) is part of the Nectaris basin rim. (Dashed lines are used to show the rim crest of crater Descartes, the rim of which has been so severely degraded by erosional and depositional processes that it is otherwise difficult to see. This convention is used frequently throughout this volume. -D.E.W.
Report Source: NASA SP-362, Page 37, Figure 24
This web page was created by Francis Ridge
for The Lunascan Project
Section Directory 45