SMART-1 close-up on Zucchius crater's central peaks


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SMART-1 close-up on Zucchius crater’s central peaks
European Space Agency
1 June 2006

This image, taken by the advanced Moon Imaging Experiment (AMIE) on
board ESA’s SMART-1 spacecraft, shows the central peaks of crater
Zucchius.

AMIE obtained this image on 14 January 2006 from a distance of about
753
kilometres from the surface, with a ground resolution of 68 metres per
pixel.

The imaged area is centred at a latitude of 61.3? South and longitude
50.8? West. Zucchius is a prominent lunar impact crater located near
the
southwest limb. It has 66 kilometres diameter, but only its inside is
visible in this image, as the AMIE field of view is 35 kilometres from
this close-up distance.

Because of its location, the crater appears oblong-shaped due to
foreshortening. It lies just to the south-southwest of Segner crater,
and northeast of the much larger Bailly walled-plain. To the southeast
is the Bettinus crater, a formation only slightly larger than Zucchius.

Zucchius formed in the Copernican era, a period in the lunar planetary
history that goes from 1.2 thousand million years ago to present times.
Another example of craters from this period are Copernicus (about 800
milion years old) and Tycho (100 million years old). Craters from the
Copernican era show characteristic ejecta ray patterns - as craters
age,
ejecta rays darken due to weathering by the flowing solar wind.

The hills near the centre of the image are the so-called “central
peaks”
of the crater, features that form in large craters on the Moon. The
crater is formed by the impact of a small asteroid onto the lunar
surface. The surface is molten and, similarly to when a drop of water
falls into a full cup of coffee, the hit surface bounces back, it
solidifies and then ‘freezes’ into the central peak.

The name of Zucchius crater is due to the Italian Mathematician and
astronomer Niccolo Zucchi (1586-1670).

For more information:

Jean-Luc Josset, SPACE-X Space Exploration Institute
Email: jean-luc.josset @ space-x.ch

Bernard H. Foing, ESA SMART-1 Project Scientist
Email: bernard.foing @ esa.int