The exploration and colonization of Mars is a dream, but theis more within reach. Our natural satellite still contains many secrets and the announced return of both rovers andHomo sapiens, on the surface of the Moon during the 2020 decade should provide us with spectacular images, especially if we take into account the fact that they may be in relief in the .
Among the enigmas waiting to be solved with the Moon, we can cite that of theand also the nature of of Gruithuisen, named in honor of Franz von Gruithuisen (1774-1852), a naturalist and Bavarian.
To understand why the Gruithuisen domes are a lunar geological mystery, we must already know that two main types of rock dominate the surface of the Moon, theof the lunar seas and the from the highlands. They are easily spotted by color from Earth – basalts are indicated by dark areas and anorthosites by brighter regions.
However, mineralogical and morphological studies of the Moon’s surface carried out using orbiting satellites capable of remote sensing and high-resolution imagery really suggests that it is a volcanic edifice similar to some of those known on Earth which are formed of rocks much richer in silica than the basalts of the ocean floor.such as the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) from NASA or of the Jaxa, revealed some . They are usually a few scattered and relatively small volcanic centers composed of rocks rich in such as the or dacite, i.e. extrusive volcanic versions of granite or . This is the case of the Gruithuisen domes, whose chemical composition deduced from measurements made with the instrument
Volcanoes produced by plate tectonics on Earth but on the Moon
Now, here is the problem, on Earth these volcanic buildings are formed in regions of whose rocks come from the cooling of formed by complex processes that involve the remelting of rocks and sediments in subduction zones.oceanic plates with waterlogged under a continental plate. This is the case of of the Andes, or for example the famous
But, we know well that there is noon the Moon and even fewer oceans at the bottom of which would settle sediments. How, then, to explain the existence of the Gruithuisen domes?
Selenologists, with their knowledge of the geophysics and geochemistry of magmatic processes on Earth, have some hypotheses and models on this subject. But, as always, data is needed to confirm them… or refute them! To really do comparative planetology and volcanology, you have to go on site with instruments.
That’s good, that’s precisely what NASA wants to do, confirming with a recent announcement its interest in sending a lander in a few years time that will carry a rover with it to the top of one of the Gruithuisen domes.
Lunar-VISE will explore the mysterious Gruithuisen Domes—domes on the Moon that are suspected to be formed by sticky magma! With Lunar-VISE, we will begin to answer questions about the history of lunar volcanic activity. Congrats to Dr. Kerri Donaldson Hanna & the @UCF team! pic.twitter.com/GG7G8AIZFH
—Thomas Zurbuchen (@Dr_ThomasZ) June 2, 2022
Kerri Donaldson Hanna explains about this: “ We will use a suite of instruments on a lander and a rover to study the composition of the domes, including the composition and properties of regolith and boulders and how lunar dust reacts to the lander and rover when it explore the volcanic dome. There is potentially a treasure trove of knowledge waiting to be discovered, which will not only help us develop future explorationand human of the Moon, but can also help us to better understand the history of our own Planet as well as other planets of the . »