This week’s cover shows the findings from NASA’s Grail Mission which revealed ancient tectonics on the lunar nearside. Nature’s Art Director Kelly Krause talks us through the inspiration behind the cover.
The Procellarum is a broad feature on the nearside of the Moon, characterized by low elevations and thin crust, and largely covered by dark basalts that can be seen from Earth with the unaided eye. The red colours on the cover image show gravity anomalies bordering the Procellarum region, calculated with data from the Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission. The background globe represents the topography of the Moon as measured by the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA). Andrews-Hanna et al. interpret the observed gravity anomalies as evidence of ancient lava-flooded rift zones buried beneath the volcanic plains (or maria) on the nearside of the Moon. Cover: NASA/ Colorado School of Mines/ Goddard Space Flight Center/ Scientific Visualization Studio
From the Art Desk:
Art Director, Kelly Krause, explains:
“The authors kindly provided a few different options for us to choose from. One featured the superimposed red border on a black and white image of the moon (below), and others showed the red border on a coloured topography map. There are those in the field of scientific visualisation that might prefer the black and white image, as the extra topography colours could be seen as distracting from the main point, which is the red border showing the research findings. In this instance I chose the more colourful image for the cover, as I felt that the red was still very clear, and that the topography information is a relevant part of the overall story.”
For additional behind the scenes commentary each week, check out the Nature Art Team’s Nature Graphics Tumblr and the previous Under the Covers focusing on the three ancestral populations for modern Europeans