Monday, October 13, 2014

Sky Guy NEWS ALERT! 10/13/14 Lunar Volcanism

Hey Space Placers!

If you have been reading my blog for awhile you know that I am a lunatic as to ALL things lunar. My fave NASA mission is the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) which has been rerouting the books on the Moon since its launch in 2009. NASA has extended LRO for another 2 years and I am sure we will learn more about our Moon during that time.

The BIG news released by NASA on October 12, 2014, is that LRO has found very strong evidence that volcanic activity on the Moon took place much later than previously thought. Before LRO's findings it was generally thought that volcanic activity on the Moon ceased over a billion years ago.

LRO's detailed and exquisite photographic coverage has found surface features that show volcanic activity as "recent" as 50-100 million years ago. In geologic time that is fresh and recent. Called "irregular mare patches" (IMP) by lunar scientists, over 70 of them have been found by LRO whereas only 1 was previously known.

This news follows the recent announcement that the Sea of Storms is not an impact crater but is a large surface feature caused by volcanic structures beneath the surface - see my blog.

Here are some of the IMP images  and here are two NASA news releases:

We will be learning more about Moon in the years to come as LRO and other nations' spacecraft explore this most beautiful and intriguing world.

Sky Guy in VA

PS My last "Let's Talk About Space at Shenandoah National Park" for this season is tonight at 9 pm at Skyland Conference Center. My talk is a special one, "The Universe and You". I wish you all could be there…..

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