Saturday, March 18, 2023

The Moon's South Pole: Malapert Massif | NASA Artemis III Landing Site Candidate

The Moon's South Pole: Malapert Massif | NASA Artemis III Landing Site Candidate

Malapert massif (informal name) is thought to be a remnant of the South Pole—Aitken basin rim, which formed more than 4 billion years ago. The 5-kilometer tall Malapert Mountain is a peak that is perpetually visible from the Earth. It could serve as a radio relay station when suitably equipped. More recently, this magnificent peak (lower left) was selected as an Artemis 3 candidate landing region. Image is 25 kilometers wide in the center, Narrow Angle Camera M1432398306LR.

NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter camera shuttered this view on March 3, 2023, when the spacecraft was about 170 kilometers beyond Shackleton crater (sub-spacecraft point was 84.10°S, 129.1°E) looking towards the nearside. From this viewpoint, we see the back side of Malapert massif assuming an Earth-centric reference. The Artemis 3 candidate landing region is partially visible from this viewpoint.

Imagine the view from the summit; it rises more than 5000 meters  (16,400 feet) above its base. Off in the distance, you could see a 3500 meter (11,480 feet) tall cliff. One could argue that the sheer grandeur of this region makes it a prime candidate. However, then again, a landing here might be too exciting?

Image Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University

Image Date: March 3, 2023

#NASA #Space #Astronomy #Science #Moon #Mountain #Malapertmassif #LandingSiteCandidate #Artemis #ArtemisIII #HumanSpaceflight #LRO #Spacecraft #Orbiter #Geology #Lunar #Technology #Engineering #GSFC #ASU #UnitedStates #STEM #Education

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