Distribution of large lunar craters

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Seth Kadish, Jim Head, and Caleb Fassett at Brown University made a shapefile of every lunar crater larger than 20 km in diameter using Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) data. See Head, J.W., C.I. Fassett, S.J. Kadish, D.E. Smith, M.T. Zuber, G.A. Neumann, and E. Mazarico (2010), Global distribution of large lunar craters: Implications for resurfacing and impactor populations, Science, 329, 1504-1507, doi:10.1126/science.1195050 and Kadish, S.J, C.I. Fassett, J.W. Head, D.E. Smith, M.T. Zuber, G.A. Neumann, and E. Mazarico (2011), A global catalog of large lunar crater (≥20 KM) from the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter, Lunar Plan. Sci. Conf., XLII, abstract 1006; you can download the shapefile here. I overlaid this data on a basemap of the Moon derived from Clementine imagery to make the movie showing the distribution of large lunar craters above. Notice that mare surfaces (predominantly on the near side of the Moon) are much less heavily cratered than highlands surfaces (predominantly on the far side of the Moon).

I've also converted this lunar crater catalog to KML so you can check out the crater distribution in Google Moon. LolaLargeLunarCraterCatalog.kmz

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Will Vaughan. Last revision February 25, 2011.