Take a Gander at Gassendi Crater

  Here’s a view of lunar crater Gassendi I assembled from seven 70mm Hasselblad color film photographs captured by Apollo 16 in April 1972. The 3.6 billion-year-old Gassendi crater is 110 km (68 miles) wide and located on the edge of Mare Humorum. This view here is looking south.

How Government Geologists Recreated the Moon in Flagstaff, Arizona

From July 1969 to December 1972 the astronauts of NASA’s Apollo missions explored the alien landscape of the lunar surface, flag-planting, kangaroo-hopping, shuffling, digging, and Grand Prix-roving across six sites on the Moon. In order to prepare for their off-world adventures though, they needed extensive practice here on Earth so they would be ready to execute the…

An Opportunity From Above

To commemorate the 12th anniversary of NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter at Mars (March 10, 2006) and the still-roving Opportunity, below is an edited version of an article I wrote back in 2011 showing Opportunity imaged by MRO’s HiRISE camera. The eye in the sky sees all…especially when that eye is the HiRISE camera on the…

Dawn Sees Landslides and a Central Ridge in a Young Crater on Ceres

Ceres’ Haulani Crater, with a diameter of 21 miles (34 km), shows evidence of landslides from its crater rim. Smooth material and a central ridge stand out on its floor. This image was made using data from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft when it was in its high-altitude mapping orbit, at a distance of 915 miles (1,470…

A Craterful of Cracks

Here’s a view of a section of a crater on Mars filled with a lacework of bright spidery fractures, acquired on Sept. 20, 2015 with the HiRISE camera aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The crater is approximately 3 miles (5 km) wide and located in Mars’ north polar region, and its old, infilled interior has undergone countless millennia…

Icy Enceladus Shines in the Latest Images from Cassini

On Wednesday, Oct. 14 2015, Cassini performed its scheduled “E-20” close pass of Enceladus, a 320-mile-wide moon of Saturn that is now famous for the organics-laden ice geysers that fire from cracks in its southern crust. E-20 is the first of a series of three flybys to be performed before the end of 2015, specifically timed to…

Oh What a Relief! Cool 3D Views of the Moon via LROC

Do you have any of those paper 3D viewers around? You know, with the red and blue lenses? If so, pop ’em on and check out the image above from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) showing the crater “Hell Q,” located on the Moon’s southern near side near the brightly-rayed Tycho. You might think…

Mars Gets a Brand New Crater

If you count at least slightly over two years old as “brand new” then yes, this one is certainly that! Seen above in an image taken by the HiRISE camera aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on Nov. 19, 2013, a 100-foot-wide (30-meter) crater is surrounded by bright rays of ejected material and blown-clear surface. Since…