Central Peak of Copernicus Crater
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Central Peak of Copernicus Crater

November 30, 2012
Although large boulders are not rare on the Moon, in-place bedrock is a rarity. The Moon is so impact-battered that most bedrock surfaces (unless exposed on very high slopes) are covered with regolith, and thus bedrock rarely crops out. Bedrock exposures are scientifically important. Any given point on the lunar surface has been subjected to hundreds of millions of years of meteorite impacts; these impacts tend to redistribute rocks around the lunar surface. Rocks that you just pick up from the lunar surface therefore may not have originated from the point where you found it. Now, you might think from this fact that just sampling loose rocks might not be geologically informative, but loose rocks must have been transported or disrupted by a geologic or planetary process. These processes will overprint or alter a loose rock in some way, which will also provide incredibly useful information to the geoscientist. However, bedrock formed in the location in which it is found and therefore informs scientists about the local history. Craters are one of the places on the Moon that expose bedrock, often on the very high slopes.

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