Mountains on the Moon


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Mountains on the Moon

Cool image time! The image on the right, reduced slightly to post here, shows several high mountains on the far side of the Moon. If you click on the image you can see it at full resolution.

The summit of the unnamed peak in the foreground (50.2° S, 236.6° E) has an elevation of 6710 meters, about 7000 meters (about 23,000 feet) of relief relative to the low point at the bottom of the image. The two peaks on the horizon, 200 kilometers in the distance (about 125 miles), have summit elevations of 4320 meters (14,200 feet) and 4680 meters (15,350), respectively and both rise more than 6000 meters (almost 20,000 feet) above their surroundings.

In the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) science team release in June, they noted that the high peak here is actually taller than Denali (Mount McKinley), the highest peak within the U.S. And it has no name. They also note that the peak is likely 4 billion years old, and has experienced extensive erosion in that time, meaning that it is also likely shorter than it once was.

I don’t have anything to add, other than this would be an amazing place to put up a resort, with trails taking you to the top of the mountains. In the lighter gravity, the hike would actually be somewhat easy, even wearing a spacesuit. And you wouldn’t have to worry about a thinning atmosphere as you climbed higher, as you do on Earth. You’d be carrying it with you.

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4 comments

  • Chris

    Hi Bob,

    Cool pics…that cause two questions:
    1 what is given as the equivalent of “sea-level” on waterless planets such as our moon (ignoring the Planet Designating Authority) and Mars…etc
    2 What would erode even a 4 billion old one on a planet with no atmosphere – cosmic or solar radiation?

    PS – On the Moon habitation path, are you hearing anything on the problem of regolith – Moon dust – that will clog all moving parts and joints, clog filters …etc?

    Thanks,

    CMcL

  • 1. Planetary scientists have for all the planets an agreed-upon “sea level,” based upon the mean radius for the planet. They average their data, determine where the mid-point is, and use that.

    2. Cosmic rays, solar wind, meteorites and micrometeorites. Four billion years is a very long time.

    3. The engineering problem of dealing with the very abrasive dust of the Moon remains an open question. Solutions have been proposed, but I don’t think anyone is completely satisfied with any of the proposals. I think we will likely have to go there a lot and try a lot of things to really figure the problem out.

  • Col Beausabre

    7000 meters ? You’re gonna need oxygen to climb it.

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