Grail Gravity Maps of the Moon

Gravity Maps
Grail Gravity Maps of the Lunar Highlands
Image Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / MIT / GSFC

NASA released this graphic of the front (left) and back (right) of the Moon, based on gravity data from NASA’s GRAIL mission and topography data from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.

The graphic shows regions of high and low densities of the lunar highlands. Red is high and blue is low. White shows mare basalt regions and solid circles are prominent impact basins.

On the back side of the Moon, the South Pole-Aitken basin, has a higher than average density that reflects its atypical iron-rich surface composition.

Below is a highly detail gravity map of the front (visible) side of the Moon. You can watch the movie.

Visible Side
Grail Gravity Map of the Visible Side of the Moon
Image Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / MIT / GSFC

The Boulder on the Peak of Tycho Crater

Tycho Central Peak
The Central Peak on Tycho.
Image credit: NASA / GSFC / Arizona State University

This image is a very recent release from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbital Camera (LROC), taken 10 June 2011. The angle was 65 degrees in order to capture the sunrise on the peak in Tycho crater. The large boulder in the center is 120 meters across.

Tycho is located at 43.37°S, 348.68°E, and is ~82 kilometers (51 miles) in diameter. The central peak rises 2 kilometers above the floor of the crater. The floor is almost 5 km below the rim.

Below left is a view of the entire central peak, and below right is a view of the entire crater.

Tycho Central Peak
The central peak of Tycho
Image credit: NASA / GSFC / Arizona State University

Tycho Crater
Tycho Crater
Image credit: NASA / GSFC / Arizona State University