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We were wrong about the Moon. It's time to change the textbooks

The map of the Moon that you will find in school textbooks probably dates back to the Apollo missions. We finally have something better.

Over a hundred scientists spent a decade compiling new data on the lunar surface. The result is the best atlas of the Silver Globe we have ever created.

Moon: 12 thousand craters, 81 basins, 17 types of rocks

The new lunar atlas consists of maps on a scale that has never existed before: 1:2500000. On maps 12,341 craters, 81 basins, 17 types of rocks, as well as tectonic plates and rock formations have been described and much other information about the surface of the Earth's natural satellite.

The atlas was created at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the resources it contains will be useful to the entire world. Space agencies planning further missions to the Moon will benefit, among others – led by the Chinese space program, of course. In addition, it will be the basis for exploring and extracting resources, selecting places for landing and building structures. It is worth recalling here that In a dozen or so years, an international research station will be built on the Moon. The atlas will also allow for a better understanding of the history of the Moon and will help in comparative geological research.

geological map of the Moon

Lithogenetic map of the Moon

map of the moon's tectonic plates

In addition to the maps, the thumbnails of which I have posted above, the team of scientists also published a book version of the atlas. The book contains 30 diagrams that, when combined, create a visualization of the entire Moon.

Geological atlas of the Moon

The materials are available in English and Chinese. Of course, the maps will also be available in an interactive digital version on the Digital Moon platform. An international team of geologists is also working on even more accurate maps of selected regions.

The data mostly comes from the Chang'e-1 mission, which explored the lunar surface from 2007 to 2009 using interference imaging and spectroscopy. The information was then verified with data from the Chang'e-3 and Chang'e-4 probes (2013 and 2019), GRAIL and the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter operated by NASA, and the Indian Chandrayaan-1 probe.

It's high time for a change. The 1:5000000 scale maps currently used were created in the 1960s and 1970s. They were created in the USA based on data provided by the Apollo mission. They are too imprecise to plan missions that meet modern standards.

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