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Lunar Crater Counting *

Time Required Average (6-10 days)
*Note: This is an abbreviated Project Idea, without notes to start your background research, a specific list of materials, or a procedure for how to do the experiment. You can identify abbreviated Project Ideas by the asterisk at the end of the title. If you want a Project Idea with full instructions, please pick one without an asterisk.


Get good photographs of the Moon showing lots of craters and count how many craters you find in a range of diameter classes. One useful source is the Consolidated Lunar Atlas (Kuiper et al, 2006). Make a histogram that shows the distribution of diameters. Most of these craters were formed during the first billion years of the Moon's formation, but you should confirm that this is true for the the Moon areas you've selected in your photographs by doing background research. Is cratering uniform across the surface of the Moon? Can you find evidence to support the assumption that the frequency of craters you count for each size range can be related to the cratering time scale for that size range? Perhaps this will be true only in certain areas of the Moon's surface. Perhaps you will find other clues to distinguish ancient craters from more recent ones. But if the assumptions above hold true, the interval between small cratering events is just the number of those craters you count over the whole Moon, divided by 1 billion years. With this information, you could estimate the ages for some of the larger craters you find in which smaller craters are seen inside them (Odenwald, 1997; Wood, C., 2006; Kuiper et al., 2006).

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Science Buddies Staff. "Lunar Crater Counting" Science Buddies. Science Buddies, 30 June 2014. Web. 2 Aug. 2014 <http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/Astro_p029.shtml>

APA Style

Science Buddies Staff. (2014, June 30). Lunar Crater Counting. Retrieved August 2, 2014 from http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/Astro_p029.shtml

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Last edit date: 2014-06-30


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