Layered Subsurface Structure at the Chang’e-3 Landing Site Derived from Imaging Data: Awaiting Ground Truth from Chang’e-3 Radar Experiments

Monday, 15 December 2014
Le Qiao, Zhiyong Xiao, Long Xiao and Jiannan Zhao, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan, China
Quantifying the subsurface stratigraphic and tectonic features of the Moon, with a depth from a few to thousands of meters, can provide significant information for solving scientific mysteries concerning regional and global evolution history. In December 2013, the Chinese Chang’e-3 (CE-3) spacecraft, carrying the Yutu (Jade Rabbit) rover, successfully landed on the northern Mare Imbrium, the Moon. The surface in-situ radar experiments by CE-3 mission provide an unprecedented opportunity to study the shallow subsurface geology of the Moon. While the processing and interpretation of radar observations usually depend on certain geophysical models and should consider regional geological settings. In this work, we quantified the subsurface structure at the CE-3 landing site using imaging data and illustrated a multi-layer subsurface structure model including three layers of regolith, two layers of basalt deposits and one layer of ejecta. Our result can provide essential references for CE-3 radar data processing and interpretation. The CE-3 radar observations can in turn validate previous technique for quantifying subsurface geology using imaging data, thus further deepening our understanding of lunar geoscience and exploration.