Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Another A.L.I.C.E. Found!

This crater is from the Apollo 13 mission's Saturn S-IVb stage impact. I have discussed these lunar impact events in several earlier posts (Still hoping the "ALICE" label catches on somewhere). The crater appears to be similar in appearance and size to the Apollo 14 impact site.

On April 14, 1970 the Apollo 13 Saturn IVB (Saturn V Third Stage) impacted the Moon north of Mare Cognitum (-2.55°S, 332.12°E). The impact crater, roughly 30 meters in diameter, is clearly visible in LROC NAC image M109420042LE. Study of the rare impacts that can be definitively dated helps in determining rates of space weathering on every scale. The Apollo 13 SIVB impact shows a relatively wide ranging ray system, part of which may have resulted from hot plasma pressure waves.

I'll keep an eye out for any news on the remaining three big ALICE sites (Apollo 15, 16 and 17) and hopefully the smaller impact sites for the discarded Lunar Module accent stages.

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