Astronomers create the first geological map of the Moon

Hyperaxion Apr 23, 2020

To get a complete view of the Moon, NASA and other North American institutions combined updated data with information obtained during the Apollo missions.

For the first time, the entire lunar surface was completely mapped and uniformly classified geologically. The achievement was the result of the efforts of scientists from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) in collaboration with NASA and the Lunar Planetary Institute.

Astronomers create the first geological map of the Moon
Astronomers create the first geological map of the Moon. (Credit: NASA/GSFC/USGS).

The “Unified Geological Map of the Moon” will serve as a basis for future human missions on the Moon and will be important for the international scientific community, educators and the general public. According to experts, the digitized material is available on the internet and shows lunar geology in detail on a scale of 1:5,000,000.

People have always been fascinated by the Moon and when we might return,” said current USGS director and former NASA astronaut Jim Reilly in a statement. “So, it’s wonderful to see USGS create a resource that can help NASA with their planning for future missions.”


To arrive at the final result, the scientists used information from six maps of the Apollo missions, in addition to updated data from satellites sent to the Moon. According to the researchers, the information was combined to develop the complete map. The team also developed a unified description of our satellite’s stratigraphy (the study of rock layers).

“This map is a culmination of a decades-long project,” said Corey Fortezzo, a geologist and lead author of the research. “It provides vital information for new scientific studies by connecting the exploration of specific sites on the moon with the rest of the lunar surface.”

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