Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

June 1, 1996

The Iron Moon
Credit: The Clementine Project

Explanation: In March and April of 1994 the unmanned Clementine spacecraft demonstrated the technique of prospecting on the Moon from lunar orbit. To accomplish this, Clementine turned an array of cameras sensitive to ultraviolet-visible and near-infrared light toward the lunar surface, producing the first broad-spectrum global imaging of the moon. Using this data, scientists were able to create the above map showing the concentration of iron in the lunar soils. The striking difference between the near (left) and farside (right) hemisphere's offers clues about the Moon's early history.

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (GMU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA).
NASA Technical Rep.: Sherri Calvo. Specific rights apply.
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