March 18, 2020

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Polar Puzzle

Originally published October 5, 2010 LPOD-Oct5-10.jpg
LRO Wide Angle Camera mosaic from NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University

Wiechert J is the relatively fresh 34 km wide crater at bottom center. It is just 5º from the south pole. Nearby is a somewhat dark layer of material that appears to coat underlying terrain. What is it? The arrows point to areas where the dark deposit seems to have stopped in a movement across the surface. The material to the south of Wiechert J has a rough texture with groves and ridges, and one part has a slightly elevated surface with a curved, flow-front like outline. The material to the right of the crater has a much smoother surface and clearly fills in and softens underlying terrain. This material appears to have at least partially flowed. The south pole is far from any recognized volcanic deposit so it more likely that the material is some type of ejecta. But all basins are distant from the pole. So what is this stuff?

Chuck Wood

Yesterday's LPOD: A Surprising Plain

Tomorrow's LPOD: Somewhere in Orbit


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