A vibrant depiction of the Moon's South Pole Aitken Basin
The Promise of World Unknown
This artwork was inspired by topographical maps of the lunar South Pole Aitken Basin where the robotic expedition Lunar Mission One will touch down in 2024.
Once there, the mission will drill down to a depth of up to 100 meters for samples that will transform our understanding of the Earth's Moon.
At a colossal 2,500 kilometres across (1,600 miles), the South Pole-Aitken Basin on the Earth's Moon is thought to be the solar system's largest impact depression. Mountains on the lunar southern limb of the basin reach a dizzying six kilometers high (3.7 miles). The lowest points of this ancient impact plunge to a jaw-dropping depth of over eight kilometers (4 miles). The South Pole-Aitken Basin is also host to the coldest place in our planetary neighbourhood. At 20 kelvin (-253 °C) some of its deepest regions are as cold as Pluto and never receive light.
This place of extremes is of great scientific curiosity as materials at or just below the surface are very likely to have lunar rock that is 4.5 billion years old. Rock that has the potential to shed light on the very earliest days of the formation of our entire solar system.
In common with topographical charts of this area of the moon, I present highs and lows as coloured areas. The Promise of World Unknown is not however a map, but rather an expression of our curiosity, and the strength of how the unknown is the driver of our progress as a species.