NASA Just Released a Super Detailed Map of the Moon

Isabel Garcia
Photo credit: USGS/ NASA/Lunar Planetary Institute
Photo credit: USGS/ NASA/Lunar Planetary Institute

From House Beautiful

Have you ever looked up at the moon lighting up the night sky and wanted to know about its cratered surface? Well, now you can take a closer look at its geology because The United States Geological Survey (USGS) just released the most comprehensive geological map of the moon ever created.

For the first time ever, scientists have mapped out the entire surface of the moon. In collaboration with NASA and the Lunar Planetary Institute, scientists from the USGS Astrogeology Science Center created the “Unified Geologic Map of the Moon.” The definitive blueprint of the lunar surface, it will serve as an invaluable reference for future human missions to the moon and additional lunar science. But it's not just for professional scientists: The digital map is available online so people outside the scientific community can explore the moon's surface. In other words, you can check out the same blueprint that'll help NASA plan for future missions to the moon.

Scientists created the 1:5,000,000-scale geologic map using information from recent satellite trips to the moon and six regional maps from the Apollo era. Using new and old data, the researchers created unified descriptions of the moon's rock layers. With bright colors, the map charts the moon's surface features and time periods. So you can see where geological features like craters and plateaus are located and when they formed.

“This map is a culmination of a decades-long project,” USGS geologist and lead author Corey Fortezzo said in a statement. “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.”

Want to learn more about the moon's surface, check out the “Unified Geologic Map of the Moon” here.

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