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Solar System Scratchpad

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Space Places of 2009[]

  • Erlanger Crater (Sep) - A deep crater at the Moon's north pole which is covered in shadows nearly all of the time which may have water ice. Due to a star finder malfunction, a maneuver performed over this crater by the Chandrayaan satellite was difficult.
  • Hale Crater (Sep) - A Martian crater recently imaged by HiRISE that contains gullies on its edges. It is likely the youngest of all craters its size. There are some who claim ancient ruins have been found here.
  • ALH 84001 (Sep) - A Mars meteoroid that was found in Antarctica. Some scientists believed that it contained microfossils and it is famous for possibly being the first sign of past life on Mars. Recent analysis indicates that it was once bathed in water, perhaps in a hotspring.
  • Valles Marineris (Aug) - Largest canyon system in the solar system.
  • Hebes Chasma (Aug) - Connected to Valles Marineras. It has no drainage areas so water could not have flown out from it. A model of it was created and filled with water to test theories on how Mars valleys were created.
  • Tharsis Plateau (Aug) - Great volcanic region of Mars. It may have been responsible for heating the area around Valles Marineras which caused it to collapse and form.
  • Ontario Lacus (Aug) - The largest southern lake on Titan. It was found to be very smooth and vary by less than 3mm. This concluded it was liquid and showed the winds to be very faint.
  • Block Island - A large meteoroid discovered on Mars by the Opportunity Rover. Analysis of it shows that Mars once had a thicker atmosphere.
  • Meridiani Planum (Aug) - The area on Mars that Opportunity is exploring. It contains Hematite which may be indicative of past hot springs or water.
  • Endeavour Crater (Aug) - Current location for the rover Opportunity. Opportunity has seen its rim a martian year before arriving. Much larger than other craters Opportunity has visited at 22km in diameter. MGS found that it contains clay.
  • Victoria Crater (Aug) - Half mile wide crater explored by Opportunity between 2006 and 2008. Contains many "bays" named after landmarks Magellan had seen and dunes. Imaged from space after the rover left and it is believed the rover's tracks can be seen and that it was one of the most magnificent images taken from Mars.
  • Hotei Regio (Aug) - Frigid area on Titan in SE part of Xanadu that contains cryovolcanoes (Hotei Arcus). Ammonia frost was found to evaporate in this region, perhaps after having been belched up from the cryovolcanoes.
  • Ma'adim Valley (Jul) - One of Mars's largest canyons. Situated between Tharsis Plateau and Hellas impact basin. It runs south to north to Gusev crater, where the Spirit Rover was sent to investigate signs of ancient water. Mars Express found evidence of ancient lava flows and tectonics here.
  • Hellas Basin (Jul) - The largest impact basin on Mars, second or third in the solar system. Evidence was found it could have been a huge lake 3 Billion Years Ago.
  • Tiger Stripes (Jul) - Four parallel ridges on Enceladus related to cryovolcanism.
  • Sea of Tranquility (Jul) - Volcanic basin where Apollo 11 landed.
  • Sea of Clouds (Jul) - The "mouth" of the Man on the Moon. One of Lunar Reconnaissance Orbit's first pictures was of the highlands south of this.
  • Sea of Cold (Jul) - Lunar sea that archs above the Sea of Storms and the Sea of Rains. In the outer rim of the Procellarum basin. Photos in the highlands below this area were some of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter's first photos.
  • Descartes Highlands (Jul) - Area southwest of the Sea of Tranquility by the Descartes Crater. Explored by Apollo 16. Has terrain similar to that found in LRO's highland images.
  • Anaxagoras A Crater (Jul) - An ancient crater near the lunar North Pole. One of the first photos returned by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.
  • Shackelton Crater (Jul) - Eternally dark crater at the Lunar South Pole. It is much deeper than other craters its size. Selene and Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter sensors mapped it. India's impactor struck it hoping to find water. None has been detected so far.
  • Tycho Crater (Jul) - A crater in the south-west lunar highlands visible from the naked eye. It is a recent crater (formed during the age of Dinosaurs). A 3D flyover video of it was created using Kaguya imagery and it was imaged by LRO at sunrise.
  • Aristarchus Plateau (Jul 09) - A volcanic plain area near Aristarchus Crater in the Ocean of Storms that was once considered an Apollo landing site candidate. The crater is considered the brightest large feature on the Moon. The crater is a relatively new one (450 MY) and also the site of Imaged by Kaguya spacecraft. It is also the site of Transient lunar phenomena and contains ilminate, which could be used by future settlers to extract Oxygen.
  • Tsiolkovskiy Crater (Jul 09) - Large lunar far side crater with partially magma filled in bottom released after the impact. It is one of the smoothest areas on the rough far side. Kaguya made a flyby of it. The central peak appears like an island rising above a dark lake.
  • Hell E Crater (Jul 09) - A crater south of the Sea of Clouds and west of the area in the lunar highlands where the first images of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter were taken.
  • South Pole Aitken Bain (Jul 09) - The largest impact basin in the Solar System. It is located at the Moon's south pole and extends to the Aitken crater on the lunar far side. It has been shown to have high quantities of Uranium.
  • Athabasca Valles (Jul 09) - An equitorial valley on Mars. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter found that its gullies had been active only a couple million years ago, pointing to warmer conditions.
  • Goddard C Crater (Jun 09) - Crater near the Moon's eastern limb. It was the test subject of LCROSS's camera.
  • Troy (Jun 09) - Site where the Spirit Rover got stuck. It has three multi-colored layers of soil which the Rover is studying.
  • Home Plate (Jun 09) - A multi-layered plateau explored by the Spirit Rover. It camped their during one of the Martian winters.
  • Proctor Crater (Jun 09) - A crater in the Noachis quadrangle, one of the oldest regions on Mars. Large sand dunes were found in it by the MRO HiRISE camera.
  • Shalbatana Vallis (Jun 09) - Valley on Mars. The first conclusive evidence of a shoreline was discovered here by the MRO.
  • Gill Crater (Jun 09) - A crater near the south-east limb of the Moon. This is near the site where the Kaguya spacecraft performed a controlled crash, whose flashes were detected from India.
  • Ocean of Storms (Jun 09) - Largest "sea" on the Moon, though not associated with an impact basin. It is the landing site of Luna 9 (the first successful soft-lander on the Moon), Surveyor 1 (the first American soft lander), Luna 13 (the second Soviet soft-lander), Surveyor 3 (the first lunar lander to have components returned to Earth), and the Apollo 12 mission, which retrieved parts of Surveyor 3.
  • The Great Wall of Procellarum (Jun 09) - Unnamed ridges in Oceanus Procellarum near the Luna 9 landing site. Visible in restored LOIRP images.
  • Planitia Descensus (Jun 09) - The term refers to the landing site of Luna 9 (not the surrounding areas, in the Sea of Storms), which was the first spacecraft to make a successful soft landing on the Moon. Images containing this area were released in LOIRP images.
  • Galilaei Crater (Jun 09) - An crater near the Luna 9 landing site. Galilea's name had originally been on a large albedo spot, but because the lunar mapmaker didn't include these in his maps, he had to move the name to a nearby unremarkable crater. Images of this crater were released by LOIRP.
  • Purgatory Dune - A sand trap where the Opportunity Rover was stuck for six weeks early in its mission.
  • Endurance Crater - A crater visited by the Opportunity Rover during its first year for about six months. It is similar to the larger Victoria Crater it would later visit.
  • Duck Bay - An area of Victoria Crater the Opportunity Rover spent considerable time in. It contains exposed scalloped rocks.

Bodies with Places in the News[]