2008 Joint Meeting of The Geological Society of America, Soil Science Society of America, American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies with the Gulf Coast Section of SEPM

Paper No. 12
Presentation Time: 11:15 AM

Contextual to Regional Scale Field Work on the Moon

CLARK, P.E.1, BLEACHER, J.2, MEST, S.3, PETRO, Noah2 and LESHIN, L.4, (1)CUA@NASA/GSFC, Code 695.2, Greenbelt Road, Greenbelt, MD 20771, (2)NASA/GSFC, Code 698, Greenbelt Road, Greenbelt, MD 20771, (3)Planetary Sciences Institute@NASA/GSFC, Code 6 98, Greenbelt Road, Greenbelt, MD 20771, (4)NASA/GSFC, Code 100, Greenbelt Road, Greenbelt, MD 20771, pamela.e.clark@nasa.gov

Responding to the need to provide science requirements for the lunar surface architecture, the Surface Scenarios Working Group (chaired by Laurie Leshin) of the NASA HQ Outpost Science and Exploration Working Group (OSEWG) is attempting to develop effective lunar surface science scenarios on a range of spatial scales. The effort represented here, planning and executing lunar field studies on scales ranging from contextual (100 km) to regional (1000 km), is complementary to ongoing efforts for local scale (10 km) exploration planning using the Apollo extended mission model. We have selected representative targets, including South Pole Aitken Basin (SPA). We are now in the process of developing a field strategy and implementation tactics within likely constraints for the first target, SPA. Clementine-derived albedo and shaded relief maps provide the basemap, supplemented by remote sensing data including topography, Fe and Th maps. The science objectives here include determining the nature and time frame of basin formation and volcano-tectonic activity and the relationship between the two. Tactics will involve traversing and geochemical sampling, and characterizing bedding and unconformities exposed as ‘contacts' in volcanic feature and crater excavation debris fields. Features of particular interest are concentrated in the northern portion of SPA, including 1) systematic increase in Th to W, Fe to E, and abundance of volcanic fill to N; (2) Iron anomalies, including Olivine Hill, apparently rich in Mg Suite materials near Bose crater; (3) Apollo Basin dark deposits; (4) Oppenheimer-area pyroclastics; (5) Mare Ingenii magnetic swirls and Th anomalies. We are developing a series of itineraries, from our initial ‘kitchen sink' itinerary which explores all of these features but exceeds reasonable logistical constraints, to shorter duration highly focused trips to each of the four major areas to perform contextual exploration at ‘field camps'.