AST 131 Dutchess Community College Astronomy Lunar Surface Discussion

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Assignment 1

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Lunar Surface Feature Identification Lab


To be familiar with selected geological surface features of the Moon.


1. Explore the web and find a detailed photgraphic maps of the lunar surface.

2. Search the internet for the information on a lunar atlas land describe the meaning of the following lunar terms and list an example of each.

Terra, Terrae: _______________________________________________

Mare, Maria: _________________________________________________

Lacus: ________________________________________________

Mons, Montes: _________________________________________________

Rupes: ________________________________________________

Vallis: _________________________________________________

3. Familiarize yourself with on-line image or the Moon itself. Note, pay close attention to how the lunar image is oriented , since telescopes lens can turn the images backwards and upside down. If using small telescope focus in on the Moon using low power first then adjusting up in magnification.

4. If using a telescope or binoculars, orient the view of the Moon through the telescope with either the on-line or a printed surface map. ( If not, next time you have the opportunity look at the Moon at night and see which side of the Moon the Oceanus Procellarum is located.)

5. Locate the following surface features on the Moon and record thier lattitude and longitudes.

Maria Lat. Long.

a. Mare Serenitatis

b. Mare Imbium

c. Oceanus Procellarum

d. Mare Nubium

e. Lacus Somniorum


a. Archimedes

b. Copernicus

c. Kepler

d. Tycho

e. Pitatus

Mountain Ranges

a. Caucasus

b. Apennine

Mission Landing Site

a. Apollo 11

b. Apollo 17

6. After viewing these features answer the following questions a. through f.:

a. Using your text as a reference, describe the origin of the lunar maria.

Note: The number of impact craters within an area can give an estimate to the age of the surface. Basically, the more craters present the older the surface.

b. Examine the number of craters located on the lunar terrae and compare them to the maria . Which area is younger?

c. Examine Oceanus Procellarum and Mare Serenitatis. Which one is older?

d. What is the origin of the bright rays that radiate from craters like Copernicus and Kepler?

Note: Another way to date features is to look for overlapping. When one crater and or its ejecta overlaps, cuts into or covers, another crater it is younger in age.

e. Examine the Craters Kepler and Mee. Which one is younger in age?

Note: Crater rims become rounded after long periods of bombardment by sand sized particles (micrometeorites). Therefore, sharpness of a craters rim ca also be used as an indication of its age.

f. Examine the Craters Tycho and Archimedes. Compare the sharpness of there rims with other and determine which one is younger?

Assignment 2

Search the web and find sites where people are training here on Earth to live and explore Mars. An example is the Mars One Mission. Discuss if you think that these scenarios are realistic or not and four changes that you would make these training missions more realistic.

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