lunar image of the month

june: galileo false colour image

The Galileo orbiter was launched in 1992 to explore Jupiter and its moons during 1995 - 1997. On its way it passed to the north of the Moon and took a series of spectrally filtered images. This mosaic of those images has been given false colours to reveal mineralogical detail.

The maria, which we can see from the Earth, are to the left of the image. They generally appear green and orange, indicative of lava flows, but the titanium-rich Mare Tranquillitatis appears dark blue. The upland soils generally appear pink, but where they have been more recently disturbed by impacts they are mineral-rich and appear light blue. This is particularly apparent with the ray craters.

Image: NASA.