From the LITD Archives: Sinking the Shot

A lunar hole-in-one

Alan Shepard may have played some moon golf during his visit in 1971 but even he wouldn’t have been up to par with this course. 😉 This photo shows the trail of a house-sized (33-foot-wide) lunar boulder that has rolled downhill and come to rest inside the rim of a crater. The image was taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera.

The boulder may have come dislodged from its previous location by a meteorite hit or a “moonquake” (yes, the moon has its own versions of earthquakes!) It rolled downhill, apparently bouncing a few times along the way (noted by gaps in the trail) and took a sharp right turn when it encountered a crater rim, coming to rest on the inner slope. And there it’s sat for who knows how long. Without weathering processes (besides a relentless rain of micrometeorites) the boulder’s trail will stay visible for hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions, of years.

Read more on the LROC site here.

Image: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University.

Originally posted on May 21, 2010