INTERNATIONAL LUNAR EXPLORATION PAGE
- with low-cost lunar transport, where would international astronauts go? -


VISITING OLD CRATERS
Gassendi: This is a crater with a lot of fractures around its central peak. It was a candidate site for the Apollo program and so will finally get its day to be investigated.
Alfonsus: Near the center of the Moon on the Earth-side, this crater is interesting due to its network of fractures on its floor. Where these fractures intersect, it seems as though there have been some volcanic vents worth examining. This is also near where the Ranger 9 craft struck the surface.
Whipple & Hinschelwood: These are two major polar craters at the north pole. Since they are at the pole, their floors are permanently shadowed. They have a ridge between them which is highly illuminated with the north pole being at a point along the ridge. These polar craters may well contain frozen ice in their dirt with organics.
De Gerlache: This is a large crater near the south pole. It is known for having a "Peak of Eternal Light" and is within telerobotic driving distance of Cabeus Crater which has proven reserves of water ice and organics.
South Pole - Aitken (SPA): The SPA is the largest crater on the Moon, the earliest known crater, and deeper than any other lunar crater. Because it is so old, the geography is not particularly unusual but the geologic science would be excellent because, near the center of the crater, it is thought that the Moon's mantle may be exposed. The Chinese rover, Yutu 2, is in the northern part of its basin.
Tsiolkovsky: This is one of quite a small number of craters on the far side of the Moon. It has a very dark lava floor with a white entral peak. Some researchers had hoped that this crater would have been the destination for the final Apollo mission. But without a communication satellite for the far side, another location was chosen for Apollo 17.
Shackleton: The south pole of the Moon is along this crater (10 o'clock position). It is likely to have ice on its floor. It also has a so-called Peak of Eternal Light and so would be a good place for a lunar base. And, for what it's worth, the dirt on the floor sort of looks like a man's face -- perhaps a hipster!
Cabeus: This is a special crater in that it is the one in which NASA confirmed the present of ice at the south pole of the Moon. In 2009, NASA conducted its LCROSS mission which smashed an upper stage into this permanently-shadowed crater thereby kicking icy dirt up into the sunlight where another craft briefly imaged it proving the presence of water ice and various organics. So, in its floor is a small, man-made crater.

Next: Pits