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Olivine Materials Map to Thin Moon Crust
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Olivine Materials Map to Thin Moon Crust

December 21, 2012
This graphic depicting the crustal thickness of the moon was generated using gravity data from NASA's GRAIL mission and topography data from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. The measurements match those found via seismic data at the NASA Apollo mission 12 and 14 landing sites, where crustal thickness is 19 miles (30 kilometers). There is a minimum crustal thickness less than 0.6 mile (1 kilometer) within the nearside Crisium and far side Moscoviense impact basins. The average thickness of the crust is 21 miles (34 kilometers), which is almost 12 miles (20 kilometers) thinner than values from previous studies. Locations of olivine-rich materials mapped from the Japanese spacecraft Kaguya, which may represent materials excavated from the moon's mantle, are shown as stars. The largest concentrations of olivine-rich materials are found surrounding the Crisium and Moscoviense impact basins, where the crust is nearly absent. Data are presented in two Lambert azimuthal equal-area projections centered over the near (left) and far side (right) hemispheres, with each image covering 75 percent of the lunar surface. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ IPGP