A Lunar Geography Lesson Inspired By Your New Shirt

A Lunar Geography Lesson Inspired By Your New Shirt

Lunar Surface T-Shirt

Slip on your new t-shirt, and feel the warm embrace of Earth’s only natural satellite. But which part? Let’s start with the big stuff: while wearing the shirt, your tummy contains the entire Mare Nectarus (Sea of Nectar). The Moon’s mares – Latin for “sea” – are giant plains of volcanic basalt that generally appear darker than the rest of the lunar surface. Mare Nectarus is the smallest of these basalt seas, but has some interesting features, including a gigantic, 3.2 km (2 mile) high cliff on its southwestern edge. Nectarus was actually formed when a giant asteroid slammed into the moon 3.9 billion years ago, and the basin later filled in with lava.

On the lower right edge of Mare Nectarus, that big crater with the mountain in the middle is Theophilus. It may just look like a little dot, but that central mountain is 1,400 meters (9/10ths of a mile) high! Theophilus is joined with the crater Cyrillus, and if you keep moving along to your left (when you're wearing the shirt) is the crater Catharina. The large, dark crater on the left side that merges into the Mare Nectarus is Fracastorius.

Your right arm is bathed in the Mare Fecunditatis, the "Sea of Fecundity" or "Sea of Fertility,” depending on how you translate the Latin. Among other things, it’s notable for the presence of a number of “ghost craters”: craters formed by meteorites that were later filled in with lava during the Moon’s volcanically active period. It’s also one of the first features to appear when the moon begins waxing. Sitting on the edge of the Mare Fecunditatis, near your collar, the large bright white patch is the crater Langrenus. It’s named after Flemish astrocartogapher Michael Florent van Langren, who in 1645 made the first known map of the moon’s surface that labelled features - including this crater, which yes, he named after himself.

The bright white lines on your left arm are rays of material ejected from the Furnerius A crater. Furnerius is just 11 km (7 miles) wide, but the rays created when it was blasted into the moon’s surface stretch an incredible 1930 km (1200 miles)!

If you see tiny astronauts walking on your shirt, that’s because the Apollo 16 landing site is near the bottom right hand side, on your hip. Apollo 16 was one of the three lunar missions specifically dedicated to science and exploration; it was the first mission to land in the moon’s highlands, and the first to use the moon as an astronomical observatory. The astronauts actually brought back moon rocks which were formed from the impact that created Theophilus.

Right nearby the Apollo 16 site, on the bottom of your shirt, is the very edge of the Sinus Asperitatis (Bay of Roughness), where it meets the lunar highlands of the Rupes Altai mountain range. The mountains were formed by shock waves from the asteroid impact that first hollowed out the Mare Nectarus basin. Your left hip is in a flat plain area, which also approaches the Rupes Altai (the mountains curve around the bottom of Nectarus) near the crater Piccolomini, which is named after the 16th century Italian archbishop and astronomer Alessandro Piccolomini.

Those are the highlights; you’ll also see innumerable smaller craters, and hundreds of square kilos of moon dust. We hope you’ve enjoyed this little tour of your own personal portion of the moon. Curiosity Box shirts: comfortable, fashionable, AND educational!

Back to blog