image by Kaguya Image Gallery, JAXA/SELENE

Astounding! These ultra-high resolution images of the interior of Tycho are monumentally better than any spacecraft images we have seen since the Apollo Pans and Metric images of 30 years ago. This is a constructed image, built by draping an image over a digital terrain model (topo map), undoubtedly generated from stereo images from Kaguya's Terrain Camera. Wow. What do we see? The central peak, rebounded by the rarefaction of the shock wave of impact, looks freshly pushed up, with steep and clean sides on the left. That is probably because impact melt - which fills the crater floor - fell out of the sky and slid down the peak's walls, scouring them clean. Solidified melt laps against the bottom of the peak, having cooled before it flowed out to flatness. The melt across the crater floor looks very much like that inside Mare Orientale, but we see it here in more detail. Immediately to the right and left of the front of the peak the melt flowed - see the full res image for the flow lineations. The bumpy surface is perhaps due to the mixture of melted rock with intensely fragmented fall back pieces. The floor texture is not uniform - see how much smoother it is at upper right. Rille-like cracks, well seen at lower right, do not seem to be flow channels - in fact, they seem to be at right angles to likely flow directions, leading to the suggestion that they are cracks formed when one slab pulled away from another. The cracks at right are familiar from Orientale's melt, but the very narrow ones to the left of the peak are a finer scale than we have seen before. This image is fantastic, but save some Oh my goshes for the simulated fly over of Tycho... Congratulations to Kaguya!

Chuck Wood

Technical Details
You must go to the JAXA website to see this in full resolution! Click the 2008/07/16 entry.
Tomorrow: And the walls came tumbling down

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