On the way to #observethemoon I will be publishing different facts about our nearest neighbour! Here is today’s instalment.

The 7 km wide base and 2.3 km tall South Massif mountain, shot an an angle from orbit by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). Source: LROC

This is the broad mountain known as the South Massif. It borders the Taurus Littrow Valley where the Apollo 17 astronauts landed back in 1972.

What are the purposes of Apollo 17 was to Sample the material from this landslide area. this material has a very high reflectance and it is very interesting trying to gain an understanding as to how this feature formed.

It appears that ejects material from the impact which created the Tycho crater which is over a thousand kilometres away has been found to have landed in this area. It was the consequential shake up from these ejecta impacts that caused the landslides as material in the area slid down the mountainside.

Apollo 17 landing site in the Taurus Littrow valley, between the South Massif and the North Massif. Credit: NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO)

By identifying the age of the material that the Apollo 17 crew brought back helps identify the age of the Tycho crater. It is approximately 110, million years old which is relatively young so to speak in geological terms.

What I find very interesting is the dating the age of a crater that’s over 1000 km from where they actually landed was possible by sampling the material.

There is an awful lot to learn about our nearest neighbour and with all the missions planned in the future who knows what else we can discover.