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Boulders bounce, roll and stop

24 Oct 2012, 17:43 UTC
Boulders bounce, roll and stop
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Boulders bounced and rolled down the interior wall of the crater
Shuckburgh E leaving a diagnostic trail. 655 meter-wide field of view
from LROC Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) frame M141885094R,
spacecraft orbit 6043, October 16, 2010; angle of incidence 47.98°
resolution 47 cm, from 39.84 kilometers [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State
University].

Sarah Braden
LROC News System

Boulders of different sizes zipped down the interior slopes of Shuckburgh E, a 9.22 km diameter crater located at 44.042°N, 57.018°E. As the boulders bounced and rolled down the wall, they carved trails through the regolith. Click on the Featured Image above to take a closer look at more boulder trails. If the trail is discontinuous, like a dashed line, then the boulder was bouncing. If the trail is continuous, then the boulder was rolling. As they lose momentum the boulders stop bouncing and instead plow through the regolith until they come to a standstill. The largest boulder track in today's Featured Image is about 5-7 meters across! To put this into perspective, 5.5 meters is about the height of an adult giraffe.

Boulder trails are not only pretty, but in some cases they could help human or robotic explorers sample ...

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