Human exploration of the Gruithuisen Domes

Sarah E. Braden, Mark Robinson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


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 γ (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 signifi cant time driving on slopes up to ̃15°.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAnalogs for Planetary Exploration
PublisherGeological Society of America
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9780813724836
StatePublished - 2011

Publication series

NameSpecial Paper of the Geological Society of America
ISSN (Print)0072-1077

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology


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