Mascons: Progress toward a unique solution for mass distribution


  • R. J. Phillips,

  • J. E. Conel,

  • E. A. Abbott,

  • W. L. Sjogren,

  • J. B. Morton


Through a series of analyses with high-altitude Lunar Orbiter and low-altitude Apollo 15 Doppler gravity data, it is shown that the Serenity mascon is a thin body whose horizontal dimensions are well determined and show a strong correlation with circular wrinkle ridge structure. Analysis to date has not uniquely determined the depth of the anomalous mass. However, geologic evidence strongly suggests that the mass excess is near the surface, because (1) the surface solution has a geometry highly suggestive of the partial filling of a ringed circular basin, and (2) the boundaries of the anomalous mass separate regions of shallow and deep mare flooding.