Copernicus Crater Topographic Map

Credit: U.S. Geological Survey

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Copernicus Crater Available and Reserved Lot Map

PARCEL: SOL03A-09-0100-000000

Copernicus Crater Inset in Blue Reserved

Credit: John T. Fountain Sr

With Grid
Without Grid


Region History

Crater Copernicus 
Credit: Apollo 17 Crew, NASA

Explanation: One of the more prominent craters on the Moon is named Copernicus. Copernicus is a large young crater visible with binoculars slightly northwest of the center of the Moon's Earth-facing hemisphere.Copernicus is distinguished by its size and by the many bright rays pointing out from it. Although Copernicus is relatively young for a lunar crater, it was formed nearly a billion years ago by a colossal impact. The center of Copernicus is about 93 kilometers across. The above picture was taken in 1972 by the last human mission to the moon: Apollo 17. The prospects for a return have been boosted recently with increased evidence of ice deposits near the lunar poles.


Copernicus Crater Central Peak:
Lunar Mountain of Unique Composition


Olivine is identified as the major mafic mineral in a central peak of Copernicus crater. Information on the mineral assemblages of such unsampled lunar surface material is provided by near infrared reflectance spectra (0.7 to 2.5 micrometers) obtained with Earth-based telescopes. The composition of the deep-seated material comprising the Copernicus central peak is unique among measured areas.Other lunar terra areas and the wall of Copernicus exhibit spectral characteristics of mineral assemblages comparable to the feldspathic breccias returned by the Apollo missions, with low-calcium orthopyroxene being the major mafic mineral.

Copernicus Crater Central Peak:  Lunar Mountain of Unique Composition


The mineral olivine (when of gem quality, it is also called PERIDOT and CHRYSOLITE) is a magnesium iron silicate with the formula (Mg+2, Fe+2)2SiO4. It is a common mineral in the Earth's subsurface but weathers quickly on the surface.

Peridot. taken by Azuncha CC license

The ratio of magnesium and iron varies between the two endmembers of the solid solution series: forsterite (Mg-endmember: Mg2SiO4) and fayalite (Fe-endmember: Fe2SiO4). Compositions of olivine are commonly expressed as molar percentages of forsterite (Fo) and fayalite (Fa) (e.g., Fo70Fa30). Forsterite has an unusually high melting temperature at atmospheric pressure, almost 1900 °C, but the melting temperature of fayalite is much lower (about 1200 °C). The melting temperature varies smoothly between the two endmembers, as do other properties. Olivine incorporates only minor amounts of elements other than oxygen, silicon, magnesium and iron. Manganese and nickel commonly are the additional elements present in highest concentrations.

Olivine gives its name to the group of minerals with a related structure (the olivine group) which includes tephroite (Mn2SiO4), monticellite (CaMgSiO4) and kirschsteinite (CaFeSiO4).

Olivine's crystal structure incorporates aspects of the orthorhombic P Bravais lattice, which arise from each silica (SiO4) unit being joined by metal divalent cations with each oxygen in SiO4 bound to 3 metal ions. It has a spinel-like structure similar to magnetite but uses one quadravalent and two divalent cations M2+2 M+4O4 instead of two trivalent and one divalent cations.

Close up of Green Sand. When looking on the image in a full resolution please notice that while some olivine Crystals are became green sand others are still inside a lava rock. Green sand is actually olivine crystals, that have been eroded from lava rocks.Image CC-BY-SA-3.0; Released under the GNU Free Documentation License.

Peridot in basalt from the San Carlos Reservation, Arizona. Personal collection, image made by me, Vsmith CCL
Peridotite xenoliths in basalt—olivines are light green crystals. Location: San Carlos Indian Reservation, Gila Co., Arizona, USA.

Lunar Olivine Basalt 15555 sample collected from the moon by the Apollo 15 mission. It was formed around 3.3 billion years ago.
On display in the [[Category:National Museum of Natural History]]. Image Credit: Wknight94 CCL

Papers, Links, Etc.
  • "Picture of the Century" – oblique view of the interior of Copernicus from Lunar Orbiter 2, which orbited the moon from 1966 to 1967. NASA photo. This is NASA's public version of the images below from John Lear

A Touch of Conspiracy

The official story...

At long last, the FULL QUALITY, HUGE FILE SIZE, moon images John Lear had scanned into his computer by Bob Lazar many years ago are online here at  From what John has told me and what I see in these files, this is a wide angle, original black and white NASA photograph split into 5 separate files when Bob Lazar scanned it.

Technical Data:

Four of them labeled Copernicus 1 through 4 are from Lunar Orbiter 2 H-162; Spacecraft Altitude 45.9 kilometers, camera tilt 69˚20’; Frame Center Data: LAT: 5˚30’N, LONG: 20˚00W, sun elevation 24˚40’. Framelet Bearing: N86˚40’W.

LO-II-H-162 01
LO-II-H-162 02

LO-II-H-162 04
LO-II-H-162 03

John Lear

These photos have always been available to the public but they are not well publicized by NASA. These extremely clear photos were used in the Lunar Lander simulator to simulate as close as possible what the astronauts would be seeing on the ground where they were going to land. That is why Neil Armstrongs story about the 'boulders' and how 'surprised' they were to come upon a field of 'boulders' which they had to 'overfly' is not very believable. In others, in over 500 simulated landings Armstrong and Aldrin never saw that 'field of boulders'?

Of course, the real story, as many of us know is that there were 2 saucers on the ground in the primary landing area and that is why they had to overfly and find someplace else to land. And we all thought it was great of Neil to bring the subject up on his '60 Minutes' interview when he really didn't have to.

The first 4 are separate scans of one photo Lunar Orbiter 2-162H. I ordered this photo many years ago from a NASA contractor, I forget which. When the package arrived it was a 16x20 inch negative. It took until a couple of years ago to find someone in Las Vegas that could print from a 16x20 negative. I had 2 prints made, one a 16x20 print and one 20x24 which is now on my den wall. I took the 16x20 over to Bob Lazars and he scanned it in 4 sections: no. 1 is top left, no. 2 is top right, no. 3 is bottom right and no. 4 is bottom left. No. 5 is a scan of Lunar Orbiter 5-155M.

LO-V-155 M
This is the same area as image 1-4 but from directly above and rotated aproximately 90 degrees

The LO-2-162H has not been retouched as far as I can tell. LO-5-155 has been retouched which is obvious from others photos I have of 155. The other photo I am refering to is published in "Exploring the Moon Through Binoculars and Small Telescopes by Ernest H. Cherrington, Jr. published in Canada by the General Publishing Co. Toronto, copyright 1969, 1984. It is on page 230 I think but I will check.

LO-2-162H is an oblique photo of the north face of Copernicus looking north. I will post the technical data in the next couple of days. The Lunar Orbiter cameras were launched in 1965-1966 and 1967. There were 5 Orbiters. They sent back thousands of crystal clear photos of the moon. As I mentioned most of these photos have been retouched. Through some quirk of fate I not only received on that wasn't retouched but received the actual negative.

Of course with the talent available at ATS its possible we will find out a lot more about these photos. I am going to wait for a while to tell you the specific area I think was retouched so that I don't 'front load' the information.

John Lear

Copernicus Crater PIA00094 Courtesy of NASA (click on image for full size)

"The Sphinx"  Olivine Rich Central Peak

Papers, Links, Etc.
  • Copernicus Crater Grid Reference Map - Collection of anomalies found on the Copernicus "Mine" using a locator grid. Several objects are marked in both the four image set and the same area with overhead view

Lunar Mining Operations in Copernicus Crater?

The above image is a 16x20 contact sheet print from Lunar Orbiter image LO-2-162H. Lunar Orbiter photos were taken on 70mm film then processed on board the spacecraft, scanned and transmitted to earth via video signal. On earth the scans were put onto 70mm Amex Tapes and 16x20 inch negatives created from which the prints we view today were created. John Lear obtained several of these original negatives and several original prints. The one showing Copernicus Crater above is available as a poster from Pegasus Research Consortium

Copernicus Crater Poster LO-2-162H
Sepia Tone
18" x 24"
$24.95 + $4.50 S&H in US

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Copernicus Crater ~ Moon ~ SOL03A-09-0100-000000