See that big rock there? (It’s easy because there’s a big yellow arrow pointing to it.) That’s a 100-foot/30-meter wide boulder that was imaged sitting on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko by ESA’s Rosetta on May 2, 2015. Nine months later Rosetta captured another image of the same area in which that huge stone had clearly moved—find out below just how far!
The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) acquired an image of the interior of Schiller crater on the Moon and this grumpy-looking boulder was found within by a Moon Zoo member. Just what is it, and what could have created it?
Dark flows run down the slopes of Stevinus A crater on the Moon in this detail of an image from the LRO’s camera. Large boulders that have rolled downhill appear to have interrupted the flow in at least one spot in this image.
It’s still not exactly known whether these features in Stevinus A are the result of impact melt or dry material that flowed like a liquid after a lunar seismic event.
Image credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University
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.
Image: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University.
Originally posted on May 21, 2010
This image from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter shows a close-up of an 80-foot-wide boulder on the central peak of Gassendi Crater, a trail left behind it in the dark lunar soil. There’s even a bit of a pile-up of soil in front of it where it came to rest! Several smaller boulders on either side of it have made their own downhill runs as well.
Read more about this image and its location on Arizona State University’s LROC site.
Image credit: NASA / GSFC / Arizona State University