Vol 20, No 1

The subsurface structure and stratigraphy of the Chang’E-4 landing site: orbital evidence from small craters on the Von Kármán crater floor

Xiao-Hui Fu, Le Qiao, Jiang Zhang, Zong-Cheng Ling, Bo Li


Abstract Chang’E-4 (CE-4) successfully landed on the floor of the Von Kármán crater within the South Pole-Aitken basin (SPA). One of its scientific objectives is to determine the subsurface structure and the thickness of lunar regolith at the landing site and along the traverse route of the Yutu-2 rover. Using orbital data, we employed small craters (diameters <1 km) on the floor of the Von Kármán crater as probes to investigate the subsurface structure and stratigraphy of the CE-4 landing site. In this study, 40 dark-haloed craters that penetrate through the surface Finsen ejecta and excavate underlying mare deposits were identified, and 77 bright ray craters that expose only the underlying fresh materials but do not penetrate through the surface Finsen ejecta were found. The excavation depths of these craters and their distances from the Finsen crater center were calculated, and the thickness distribution of Finsen ejecta on the Von Kármán floor was systematically investigated. The boundary between Finsen ejecta and underlying mare basalt at the CE-4 landing site is constrained to a depth of 18 m. We have proposed the stratigraphy for the CE-4 site and interpreted the origins of different layers and the geological history of the Von Kármán crater. These results provide valuable geological background for interpreting data from the Lunar Penetrating Radar (LPR) and Visible and Near-infrared Imaging Spectrometer (VNIS) on the Yutu-2 rover. The CE-4 landing site could provide a reference point for crater ejecta distribution and mixing with local materials, to test and improve ejecta thickness models according to the in situ measurements of the CE-4 LPR.


Keywords Chang’E-4 — dark-haloed crater — ejecta thickness — Moon

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