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United States Geological Survey

(glossary entry)


The main involvement of the United States Geological Survey (USGS) in lunar research has been through the Astrogeology Branch in Flagstaff, Arizona. Work undertaken there generally supports geologic mapping of the Moon, with specific activities related to nomenclature, lunar coordinate systems, and the interpretation of geologic features.

Additional Information

  • Between 1965 and 1974, the USGS produced a series of geologic maps corresponding to the 44 maps of the original LAC series, and comprising a Geologic Atlas of the Moon.
    • The geologic maps (and many others) are still in print and can be ordered directly from the USGS on-line store
    • Although the geologic maps cover the same areas as the LAC series (as use the LAC maps as their under-drawing) they have a completely different and unrelated numbering system.
  • Since 1999 the USGS has hosted the official IAU Planetary Gazetteer.
  • In 2005, the USGS made public a revised Unified Lunar Control Network.
  • The USGS also sponsors the Lunar Orbiter Digitization Project and has an extensive library of lunar map products, some of which are available on-line.

LPOD Articles


  • Schaber, Gerald G. 2005. The U.S. Geological Survey, Branch of Astrogeology—A Chronology of Activities from Conception through the End of Project Apollo (1960-1973). U.S. Geological Survey. Open-File Report 2005-1190. (oral history of the Astrogeology Branch)