Surface of the Moon
Surface of the Moon

Close-up of the lunar surface

This image shows the Mare Imbrium (or Sea of Showers), the largest of the lunar mare. It has a diameter of 1123 kilometres and is between 3700 million and 3900 million years old. Mountain ranges (montes) appear in the centre and bottom of the image.

The three craters right of the centre are Archimedes, Autolycus, and Aristillus. In 1971, the Apollo 15 astronauts landed on a site between these craters and the montes. The large crater with the detail in the middle shown in the top left-hand corner is Copernicus.

Lunar exploration is resumed on 27 September 2003, when ESA's first mission to the Moon, SMART-1, is launched.

Last update: 23 October 2003

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