Centimeter-resolution topographic modeling and fine-scale analysis of craters and rocks at the Chang'E-4 landing site

Bo Wu, Yuan Li, Wai Chung Liu, Yiran Wang, Fei Li, Yang Zhao, He Zhang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Chang'E-4 was the first lunar mission to successfully land on the far side of the Moon. The stereo images collected by the panoramic camera (Pancam) mounted on the Jade Rabbit-2 rover have provided the most detailed in situ observations of the landing site along the rover traverse. This paper presents our efforts in centimeter-resolution topographic modeling and fine-scale analysis of craters and rocks at the Chang'E-4 landing site using the Pancam images. We first used an integrated photogrammetric and photoclinometric approach to generate a digital elevation model (DEM) and an orthoimage mosaic of the landing site and a 3D model of the Chang'E-4 lander itself, all with spatial resolutions of 1 cm/pixel. Craters with diameters of decimeters to meters and rocks with sizes of decimeters were then extracted and analyzed. The results indicate that Chang'E-4 landed on a terrain slope of 4° toward 72.3° southwest, with one foot sunk in the regolith 1.5 cm deeper than the other foot on the front side of the lander. Fine-scale analysis of the small craters at the Chang'E-4 landing site showed overall a similar power-law trend as large craters of hundreds of meters, but there is a clear gap between their size-frequency distributions, indicating the accumulated impact flux appears to be different for these two crater populations. The average depth-to-diameter ratio of the small craters around the landing site was 0.061, obviously less than those of craters on the kilometer scale. Fine-scale analysis of rocks revealed that the Chang'E-4 landing site has a rock abundance of 0.21%, which agrees well with previous results based on orbital data. Joint analysis of craters and rocks indicates that more rocks are located inside craters with greater depth-to-diameter ratios on such a fine scale. The 3D topographic modeling approach and fine-scale analysis of craters and rocks presented in this paper provide new insights into lunar mapping and geological study.

Original languageEnglish
Article number116666
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Volume553
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021

Keywords

  • Chang'E-4
  • craters
  • Pancam
  • photoclinometry
  • photogrammetry
  • rocks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science

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