The Moon Gets a New Map

Unified Geologic Map of the Moon - USGS

The moon has gotten a new map. Engadget reports that the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has released a map of all the lunar surface’s features and the good places to mine on the moon. The map is the most detailed of our lunar neighbor ever made.

The team created the map using a mix of Apollo-era maps and data from recent satellite missions, including the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and Japan’s SELENE. Scientists redrew the historical maps to help them line up with the present-day sets while preserving valuable notes. They also established consistent descriptions of features to prevent the confusion that could happen with past maps.

The map could serve as a vital reference point for future Moon missions, but it could also prove valuable for the general public. Schools could use this to help explain the Moon’s pockmarked terrain, for example.

The Minecraft-esque map of the moon is available right here. If you’re homeschooling a kid or two, here’s a day or two worth of astronomy and geology lessons.

The lunar map, called the “Unified Geologic Map of the Moon,” will serve as the definitive blueprint of the moon’s surface geology for future human missions and will be invaluable for the international scientific community, educators and the public-at-large. The digital map is available online now and shows the moon’s geology in incredible detail (1:5,000,000 scale).

Bryan Preston is a military veteran and former Hubble Space Telescope producer. He is the author of Hubble’s Revelations: The Amazing Time Machine and Its Most Important Discoveries.