This stunning, almost floral map is among the first of the prismatic planetary maps published by the U.S. Geological Survey between 1971 to 1997. Commissioned by NASA, geologists were charged with mapping the moon to ensure safe landings for astronauts, but also to pinpoint areas of interest for future research.
Dr. Baerbel Lucchitta was the geologist who led the mapping of the north side of the moon. Dr. Lucchitta—after whom there is a glacier in Antarctica named Lucchitta, as well as an asteroid named Baerbel—was one of the first women in the field of astrogeology. The north side was her first assignment with the U.S.G.S.; Mars and the first map of Europa soon followed. (Wow.) For her geographically and aesthetically meticulous work, she was awarded the Geological Society of America, Planetary Geology Division, G.K. Gilbert Award. Dr. Lucchitta was the first woman to receive it.
Keith A. Howard, H.G. Wilshire and D.E. Wilhelms led the charge on mapping the south side of the moon. The lunar mapping program, documented in the 1994 book To a Rocky Moon: A Geologist’s History of Lunar Exploration, was led by Gene Shoemaker, a pioneer in the field of astrogeology who has the galactically fascinating distinction of being the only person buried on the moon.