APOD: Plato and the Lunar Alps (2014 Dec 04)

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APOD: Plato and the Lunar Alps (2014 Dec 04)

Post by APOD Robot » Thu Dec 04, 2014 5:07 am

Image Plato and the Lunar Alps

Explanation: The dark-floored, 95 kilometer wide crater Plato and sunlit peaks of the lunar Alps (Montes Alpes) are highlighted in this sharp digital snapshot of the Moon's surface. While the Alps of planet Earth were uplifted over millions of years as continental plates slowly collided, the lunar Alps were likely formed by a sudden collision that created the giant impact basin known as the Mare Imbrium or Sea of Rains. The mare's generally smooth, lava-flooded floor is seen below the bordering mountain range. The prominent straight feature cutting through the mountains is the lunar Alpine Valley (Vallis Alpes). Joining the Mare Imbrium and northern Mare Frigoris (Sea of Cold) the valley extends toward the upper right, about 160 kilometers long and up to 10 kilometers wide. Of course, the large, bright alpine mountain below and right of the valley is named Mont Blanc. The tallest of the lunar Alps, it reaches over 3 kilometers above the surface. Lacking an atmosphere, not to mention snow, the lunar Alps are probably not an ideal location for a winter vacation. Still, a 150 pound skier would weigh a mere 25 pounds on the Moon.

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RocketRon

Re: APOD: Plato and the Lunar Alps (2014 Dec 04)

Post by RocketRon » Thu Dec 04, 2014 5:25 am

Any hint as to how long ago the impact crater formed,
or how soon after it flooded with lava ?

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Re: APOD: Plato and the Lunar Alps (2014 Dec 04)

Post by Boomer12k » Thu Dec 04, 2014 7:48 am

Now THAT is what I like...a NICE, CLEAR, PICTURE!!!! I am in AWE!!!

I take good moon shots too...but this looks like you are flying right over it. :D

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Re: APOD: Plato and the Lunar Alps (2014 Dec 04)

Post by Nitpicker » Thu Dec 04, 2014 10:46 am

Spectacular image! (Drool.)

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Re: APOD: Plato and the Lunar Alps (2014 Dec 04)

Post by henrystar » Thu Dec 04, 2014 1:57 pm

I'm so used to color, now...but wait, maybe this IS color?

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Re: APOD: Plato and the Lunar Alps (2014 Dec 04)

Post by Chris Peterson » Thu Dec 04, 2014 3:07 pm

henrystar wrote:I'm so used to color, now...but wait, maybe this IS color?
I don't think so.

Some more details about the image would be welcome. It was shot with a Basler 1300 series camera. That means it almost certainly isn't a "digital snapshot" but rather a stack of combined frames, taking advantage of "lucky imaging" where only frames with very good seeing are utilized. While this camera series is available with both monochrome and color sensors, most serious imagers would go with monochrome for its improved performance. Also, the imager in this case uses RGB sequences for his planetary images, suggesting that his best cameras are monochrome.

The curious thing is that the image here is larger than the camera sensor. So it has either been upsampled in processing, or is some kind of mosaic.
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Re: APOD: Plato and the Lunar Alps (2014 Dec 04)

Post by Ann » Thu Dec 04, 2014 4:15 pm

henrystar wrote:I'm so used to color, now...but wait, maybe this IS color?
This is a black and white image.

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Re: APOD: Plato and the Lunar Alps (2014 Dec 04)

Post by JohnD » Thu Dec 04, 2014 4:53 pm

The comments were as full as could be , in the limited space of an APOD caption, but there is so much there to explain!

The sinuous valley from Plato crater at two o'clock.
Maybe others in that ?ejecta field.
The crater wall collapse (?) at seven o'clock.
The even more sinuous valleys in the area to the right of Plato.
The markings in the Mare, like wrinkles on a sheet.
The Vallis Alpes itself - how? why? etc?
And how old is Plato - looks quite young?
John

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Re: APOD: Plato and the Lunar Alps (2014 Dec 04)

Post by Ron-Astro Pharmacist » Thu Dec 04, 2014 4:56 pm

How fun would it be to zoom around the moon with your own remote controlled drone? Or even one owned by NASA or another venture business. It doesn't seem like it would take a lot of fuel to keep it aloft in the moon's low gravity. And hovering above the surface, it might not have issues with the dust. Imagine the scenes cruising the mountain and valleys and what one might discover from the safety of your couch?

http://spacetravelfoundation.blogspot.f ... -with.html

I guess NASA has this covered. Where does one sign up for moon drone driving school?
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Re: APOD: Plato and the Lunar Alps (2014 Dec 04)

Post by Chris Peterson » Thu Dec 04, 2014 5:00 pm

Ron-Astro Pharmacist wrote:How fun would it be to zoom around the moon with your own remote controlled drone? Or even one owned by NASA or another venture business. It doesn't seem like it would take a lot of fuel to keep it aloft in the moon's low gravity. And hovering above the surface, it might not have issues with the dust. Imagine the scenes cruising the mountain and valleys and what one might discover from the safety of your couch?

http://spacetravelfoundation.blogspot.f ... -with.html

I guess NASA has this covered. Where does one sign up for moon drone driving school?
The Moon doesn't have an atmosphere like Titan does. Solar powered aeronautical craft can be used on some of the outer moons, Mars, Venus, etc. On the Moon you'd need rockets, and that means a system that can only operate for a limited time before landing or crashing, never to fly again.
Chris

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Re: APOD: Plato and the Lunar Alps (2014 Dec 04)

Post by Ron-Astro Pharmacist » Thu Dec 04, 2014 5:37 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:
Ron-Astro Pharmacist wrote:How fun would it be to zoom around the moon with your own remote controlled drone? Or even one owned by NASA or another venture business. It doesn't seem like it would take a lot of fuel to keep it aloft in the moon's low gravity. And hovering above the surface, it might not have issues with the dust. Imagine the scenes cruising the mountain and valleys and what one might discover from the safety of your couch?

http://spacetravelfoundation.blogspot.f ... -with.html

I guess NASA has this covered. Where does one sign up for moon drone driving school?
The Moon doesn't have an atmosphere like Titan does. Solar powered aeronautical craft can be used on some of the outer moons, Mars, Venus, etc. On the Moon you'd need rockets, and that means a system that can only operate for a limited time before landing or crashing, never to fly again.
What - no rocket drones yet? Or maybe the moon is a good place to experiment with the space elevator?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_elevator

A Drone on a Rope? Finding the right rope for the job might be tough to swing.
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Re: APOD: Plato and the Lunar Alps (2014 Dec 04)

Post by Ron-Astro Pharmacist » Thu Dec 04, 2014 5:53 pm

♫ ♪ Rocket drone, hanging by its fuse out there alone ♪ ♫

Yea, I think it's gonna be a long long time. :)
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quigley

Re: APOD: Plato and the Lunar Alps (2014 Dec 04)

Post by quigley » Thu Dec 04, 2014 5:57 pm

Please tell us how the Lunar Alpine Valley may have been formed. Also, what formed the winding riverbed type valleys? Did the smooth, lava-flooded Mare Imbrium form from the impact breaking the crust to the lava below?

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Re: APOD: Plato and the Lunar Alps (2014 Dec 04)

Post by Chris Peterson » Thu Dec 04, 2014 6:18 pm

Ron-Astro Pharmacist wrote:What - no rocket drones yet?
There's nothing technically challenging in producing a rocket drone. The problem is that the only kind of rockets we know how to make that can generate high thrust require chemical fuel. So unless you have a way of refueling (which seems unlikely on the Moon) you're looking at very limited use.
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Re: APOD: Plato and the Lunar Alps (2014 Dec 04)

Post by Ron-Astro Pharmacist » Thu Dec 04, 2014 6:31 pm

quigley wrote:Please tell us how the Lunar Alpine Valley may have been formed. Also, what formed the winding riverbed type valleys? Did the smooth, lava-flooded Mare Imbrium form from the impact breaking the crust to the lava below?
One of the links had this to say -

Seen in this image, Vallis Alpes (Alpine Valley) is a spectacular feature that bisects the Montes Alpes range. This valley was discovered in 1727 by Francesco Bianchini. It extends 166 kilometres from Mare Imbrium, trending north-east to the edge of the Mare Frigoris (Sea of Cold). The valley is narrow at both ends and widens to about 10 kilometres across.

The valley floor is a flat, lava-flooded surface that has narrow sinous ‘rille’ running down the middle. It is generally considered to be a 'graben', an area between two parallel faults which has dropped below the surrounding area. This is believed to have formed after the formation of the basin, but before the full maria lava flows. The rille corresponds to a ‘lava tube’ formed in a later geological episode by high-speed and low viscosity magma.

"SMART-1 is studying the signature of violent processes that took place during the formation of these giant impact basins, as well as the sequence of late volcanic history over the lunar surface until 3000 million years ago,” said ESA’s SMART-1 Project Scientist Bernard Foing.

And this was a pretty cool video
Click to play embedded YouTube video.
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Guest

Re: APOD: Plato and the Lunar Alps (2014 Dec 04)

Post by Guest » Thu Dec 04, 2014 9:14 pm

Ron-Astro Pharmacist wrote:And this was a pretty cool video
Yes, very cool. But around the 1 minute mark, as the north (?) end of the valley comes into view, there is a ridge or gulley that seems to run perpendicular to the fun of the valley and the central 'groove' there in. Coincidentally, there are a couple of craters close by that make it look like a 'happy face'. Made me laugh, and then wondered what the 'conspiracy theory guys' would make of that... The original image is nice, but I would like to see a colorized stretch-out image of the grey scale to help reveal some of the hidden structures in the 'flat surface'. I can see circular arc structures and some more linear/angular structures, but I am sure that it is more of a patchwork and the image indicates. probably revealing multiple catastrophic events over time.

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Re: APOD: Plato and the Lunar Alps (2014 Dec 04)

Post by mooonstruk » Thu Dec 04, 2014 11:45 pm

The massif at far lower right seems to be Mt Huygens. With an elevation of more than 5 km, this is the highest mountain on the Moon. We are actually looking down on a mountain chain on a distant planet.

Zoomer

Re: APOD: Plato and the Lunar Alps (2014 Dec 04)

Post by Zoomer » Fri Dec 05, 2014 12:16 am

Chris Peterson wrote:
Ron-Astro Pharmacist wrote:How fun would it be to zoom around the moon with your own remote controlled drone? Or even one owned by NASA or another venture business. It doesn't seem like it would take a lot of fuel to keep it aloft in the moon's low gravity. And hovering above the surface, it might not have issues with the dust. Imagine the scenes cruising the mountain and valleys and what one might discover from the safety of your couch?

http://spacetravelfoundation.blogspot.f ... -with.html

I guess NASA has this covered. Where does one sign up for moon drone driving school?
The Moon doesn't have an atmosphere like Titan does. Solar powered aeronautical craft can be used on some of the outer moons, Mars, Venus, etc. On the Moon you'd need rockets, and that means a system that can only operate for a limited time before landing or crashing, never to fly again.
I have no clue what velocity is needed to closely orbit our moon. But with camera tech as it is, there could the possibility of a drone/satellite in very low lunar orbit (initiated by rockets) snapping short exposure frames from a polar orbit. These frames may then used to create a smashing 3D fly-over of the whole orb. Just clear the peaks!

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Re: APOD: Plato and the Lunar Alps (2014 Dec 04)

Post by Nitpicker » Fri Dec 05, 2014 12:22 am

Zoomer wrote:
Chris Peterson wrote:
Ron-Astro Pharmacist wrote:How fun would it be to zoom around the moon with your own remote controlled drone? Or even one owned by NASA or another venture business. It doesn't seem like it would take a lot of fuel to keep it aloft in the moon's low gravity. And hovering above the surface, it might not have issues with the dust. Imagine the scenes cruising the mountain and valleys and what one might discover from the safety of your couch?

http://spacetravelfoundation.blogspot.f ... -with.html

I guess NASA has this covered. Where does one sign up for moon drone driving school?
The Moon doesn't have an atmosphere like Titan does. Solar powered aeronautical craft can be used on some of the outer moons, Mars, Venus, etc. On the Moon you'd need rockets, and that means a system that can only operate for a limited time before landing or crashing, never to fly again.
I have no clue what velocity is needed to closely orbit our moon. But with camera tech as it is, there could the possibility of a drone/satellite in very low lunar orbit (initiated by rockets) snapping short exposure frames from a polar orbit. These frames may then used to create a smashing 3D fly-over of the whole orb. Just clear the peaks!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lunar_Reco ... ce_Orbiter
The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) is a NASA robotic spacecraft currently orbiting the Moon in an eccentric 30 by 180 km (19 by 112 mi) polar mapping orbit. The LRO mission is a precursor to future human and robotic missions to the Moon by NASA. To this end a detailed mapping program will identify safe landing sites, locate potential resources on the Moon, characterize the radiation environment, and demonstrate new technology.

The probe will make a 3-D map of the Moon's surface and has provided some of the first images of Apollo equipment left on the Moon. The first images from LRO were published on July 2, 2009, showing a region in the lunar highlands south of Mare Nubium (Sea of Clouds).

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Re: APOD: Plato and the Lunar Alps (2014 Dec 04)

Post by Chris Peterson » Fri Dec 05, 2014 12:31 am

Zoomer wrote:I have no clue what velocity is needed to closely orbit our moon. But with camera tech as it is, there could the possibility of a drone/satellite in very low lunar orbit (initiated by rockets) snapping short exposure frames from a polar orbit. These frames may then used to create a smashing 3D fly-over of the whole orb. Just clear the peaks!
Something like that has been done already. I wouldn't call that a drone, however, as there is little or no independent control. Low orbits around the Moon can only be maintained for short periods, because the Moon has a very uneven gravitational field. So unless you have a lot of fuel to expend, you're typically limited to a few weeks or months before you crash.
Last edited by bystander on Fri Dec 05, 2014 5:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: fixed quote
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Re: APOD: Plato and the Lunar Alps (2014 Dec 04)

Post by Nitpicker » Fri Dec 05, 2014 1:13 am

mooonstruk wrote:The massif at far lower right seems to be Mt Huygens. With an elevation of more than 5 km, this is the highest mountain on the Moon. We are actually looking down on a mountain chain on a distant planet.
No, Mons Huygens is at the SE edge of Mare Imbrium, in the Montes Apenninus. We are looking at the Montes Alpes at the NE edge of Mare Imbrium.

Edit reason: Alps has an 'e' on the Moon, but not on Earth.
Last edited by Nitpicker on Fri Dec 05, 2014 6:48 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: APOD: Plato and the Lunar Alps (2014 Dec 04)

Post by Spellshecker » Fri Dec 05, 2014 2:04 am

Typo alert! ---- "below the boardering mountain range"

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Re: APOD: Plato and the Lunar Alps (2014 Dec 04)

Post by John Shaughnessy » Fri Dec 05, 2014 2:20 am

http://i1032.photobucket.com/albums/a40 ... f4d158.jpg

This is a very interesting discovery I came across a short while ago, from the Earth with a pair of binoculars you can see there is a human face in the Mare Imbrium location on the lunar surface, I inserted arrows to point out such human features like a left ear, a left eye a mouth also there is a right eye that has been damaged but some of it can be made out, not to mention a almost perfect shaped face with a chin that encompasses these human features. This face is about 750 miles across ear to ear check it out on the link above, the odds are off the charts that this is a natural formation. :shock:

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Re: APOD: Plato and the Lunar Alps (2014 Dec 04)

Post by geckzilla » Fri Dec 05, 2014 2:27 am

John Shaughnessy wrote:not to mention a almost perfect shaped face with a chin that encompasses these human features.
If you overlaid and morphed a human face to try to match this formation, it would look deformed and inhuman. Your brain likes to play tricks on you. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareidolia
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Re: APOD: Plato and the Lunar Alps (2014 Dec 04)

Post by Nitpicker » Fri Dec 05, 2014 2:31 am

Does anyone know if there is a reason why Mont Blanc is the seemingly the only mountain on the Moon which bears an official IAU prefix "Mont", rather than "Mons"?

See:
http://planetarynames.wr.usgs.gov/Searc ... C%20montes