Lunar impact craters identification and age estimation with Chang'E data by deep and transfer learning

Chen Yang, Haishi Zhao, Lorenzo Bruzzone, Jon Atli Benediktsson, Yanchun Liang, Bin Liu, Xingguo Zeng, Renchu Guan, Chunlai Li, Ziyuan Ouyang

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Received Date: 22nd November 19

Impact craters, as "lunar fossils", are the most dominant lunar surface features and occupy most of the Moon’s surface. Their formation and evolution record the history of the Solar System. Sixty years of triumphs in the lunar exploration projects accumulated a large amount of lunar data. Currently, there are 9137 existing recognized craters. However, only 1675 of them have been determined age, which is obviously not satisfactory to reveal the evolution of the Moon. Identifying craters is a challenging task due to their enormous difference in size, large variations in shape and vast presence. Furthermore, estimating the age of craters is extraordinarily difficult due to their complex and different morphologies. Here, in order to effectively identify craters and estimate their age, we convert the crater identification problem into a target detection task and crater age estimation into a taxonomy structure. From an initial small number of available craters, we progressively identify craters and estimate their age from Chang’E data by transfer learning (TL) using deep neural networks. For comprehensive identification of multi-scale craters, a two-stage craters detection approach is developed. Thus 117,240 unrecognized lunar craters that range in diameter from 532 km to 1 km are identified. Then, a two-stage classification approach is developed to estimate the age of craters by simultaneously extracting their morphological features and stratigraphic information. The age of 79,243 craters larger than 3 km in diameter is estimated. These identified and aged craters throughout the mid and low-latitude regions of the Moon are crucial for reconstructing the dynamic evolution process of the Solar System.

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This is an abstract of a preprint hosted on an independent third party site. It has not been peer reviewed but is currently under consideration at Nature Communications.

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