Geologic characteristics of the Chang’E-3 exploration region

Abstract:We present topographic, geomorphologic and compositional characteristics of a 1°×1° (∼660 km2) region centered near the landing site of Chang’E-3 using the highest spatial resolution data available. We analyze the topography and slope using Digital Terrain Model (DTM) generated from Terrain Camera (TC) images. The exploration region is overall relatively flat and the elevation difference is less than 300 m, and the slopes of 80% area are less than 5°. Impact craters in the exploration region are classified into four types based on their degradation states. We investigate the wrinkle ridges visible in the exploration region in detail using TC and Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) images. We calculate FeO and TiO2 abundances using Multispectral Imager (MI) data, and confirm two basaltic units: the northern part belongs to Imbrian low-Ti/very-low-Ti mare basalts, and the southern part is Eratosthenian low-Ti/high-Ti mare basalts. Finally, we produce a geological map and propose the geologic evolution of the exploration region. We also suggest several rover traverses to explore interesting targets and maximize the potential scientific output.