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Book Chapter

Human exploration of the Gruithuisen Domes

By
Sarah E. Braden
Sarah E. Braden
School of Earth and Space Exploration, Arizona State University, P.O. Box 871404, Tempe, Arizona 85287, USA
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Mark S. Robinson
Mark S. Robinson
School of Earth and Space Exploration, Arizona State University, P.O. Box 871404, Tempe, Arizona 85287, USA
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Published:
December 01, 2011

The Gruithuisen region in northern Oceanus Procellarum on the Moon contains three distinctive domes interpreted as nonmare volcanic features of Imbrian age. A 4 d extravehicular activity (EVA), four-astronaut sortie mission to explore these enigmatic features and the surrounding terrain provides the opportunity to address key outstanding lunar science questions. The landing site is on the mare south of Gruithuisen 3 (36.22°N, 40.60°W). From this site, diverse geologic terrains and features are accessible, including highlands, dome material, mare basalts, multiple craters, small rilles, and a negative topographic feature of unknown origin. Preliminary mission planning is based on Clementine multispectral data, Lunar Prospector geochemical estimates, and high-resolution (0.5 m/pixel) stereo images from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Narrow Angle Camera. Science objectives for the mission include: (1) determining the nature of the domes, (2) identifying and measuring the distribution of any potassium, rare earth elements, and phosphorus (KREEP)- and thorium-rich materials, (3) collecting samples for age dating of key units to investigate the evolution of the region, and (4) deploying a passive seismic grid as part of a global lunar network. Satisfying the science objectives requires 7 h, ~20 km round-trip EVAs, and significant time driving on slopes up to ~15°.

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Contents

GSA Special Papers

Analogs for Planetary Exploration

W. Brent Garry
W. Brent Garry
Planetary Science Institute, Tucson, Arizona, USA
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Jacob E. Bleacher
Jacob E. Bleacher
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Planetary Geodynamics Lab, Greenbelt, Maryland, USA
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Geological Society of America
Volume
483
ISBN print:
9780813724836
Publication date:
December 01, 2011

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