Take the 2-minute tour ×
Space Exploration Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for spacecraft operators, scientists, engineers, and enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

This question already has an answer here:

I came across this page - http://www.hq.nasa.gov/alsj/alsjcoords.html that mentions the various landing coordinates of of NASA missions on the Earth's moon. The cordinates are given in the same way as that of the Earth N/S & E/W.

I understand that the moon does not have a molten core and therefore cannot have a magnetic North or South. So how is the coordinate system created?

share|improve this question

marked as duplicate by James Jenkins, TildalWave Feb 4 at 2:50

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

Repeated question: space.stackexchange.com/questions/3207/… –  Mark Adler Feb 3 at 19:22
Note that Earth's coordinate system has nothing to do with its magnetic field. –  Mark Adler Feb 3 at 22:15
add comment

1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

They used selenographic coordinates. A small yet well-preserved crater called Mösting is used as a fundamental reference point, and given these coordinates:

Latitude:   3° 12' 43.2" South
Longitude:  5° 12' 39.6" West

All coordinates are defined relative to this location, so there's no need to rely on a magnetic field, although the Moon does have one. For more information, please read this RAND corporation report of 1987, and the fundamental IAU/IAG paper.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.