Navigation Links
NASA's LRO creating unprecedented topographic map of moon

NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is allowing researchers to create the most precise and complete map to date of the moon's complex, heavily cratered landscape.

"This dataset is being used to make digital elevation and terrain maps that will be a fundamental reference for future scientific and human exploration missions to the moon," said Dr. Gregory Neumann of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. "After about one year taking data, we already have nearly 3 billion data points from the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter on board the LRO spacecraft, with near-uniform longitudinal coverage. We expect to continue to make measurements at this rate through the next two years of the science phase of the mission and beyond. Near the poles, we expect to provide near-GPS-like navigational capability as coverage is denser due to the spacecraft's polar orbit." Neumann will present the map at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco December 17.

The Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) works by propagating a single laser pulse through a Diffractive Optical Element that splits it into five beams. These beams then strike and are backscattered from the lunar surface. From the return pulse, the LOLA electronics determines the time of flight which, accounting for the speed of light, provides a precise measurement of the range from the spacecraft to the lunar surface. Range measurements, combined with accurate tracking of the spacecraft's location, are used to build a map revealing the contours of the lunar landscape. The five beams create a two-dimensional spot pattern that unambiguously reveals slopes. LOLA will also measure the spreading of the return pulse to get the surface roughness and the change in the transmitted compared to the return energy of the pulse to determine surface reflectance.

The new LOLA maps are more accurate and sample more places on the lunar surface than any available before. "The positional errors of image mosaics of the lunar far side, where direct spacecraft tracking the most accurate -- is unavailable, have been one to ten kilometers (about 0.62 to 6.2 miles)," said Neumann. "We're beating these down to the level of 30 meters (almost 100 feet) or less spatially and one meter (almost 3.3 feet) vertically. At the poles, where illumination rarely provides more than a glimpse of the topography below the crater peaks, we found systematic horizontal errors of hundreds of meters (hundreds of yards) as well." In terms of coverage, the nearly three billion range measurements so far by LRO compare to about eight million to nine million each from three recent international lunar missions, according to Neumann. "They were limited to a mile or so between individual data points, whereas our measurements are spaced about 57 meters (about 187 feet) apart in five adjacent tracks separated by about 15 meters (almost 50 feet)."

"Recent papers have clarified some aspects of lunar processes based solely on the more precise topography provided by the new LOLA maps," adds Neumann, "such as lunar crater density and resurfacing by impacts, or the formation of multi-ring basins."

"The LOLA data also allow us to define the current and historical illumination environment on the moon," said Neumann. Lunar illumination history is important for discovering areas that have been shaded for long periods. Such places, typically in deep craters near the lunar poles, act like cold storage, and are capable of accumulating and preserving volatile material like water ice.

The landscape in polar craters is mysterious because their depths are often in shadow. The new LOLA dataset is illuminating details of their topography for the first time. "Until LRO and the recent Japanese Kaguya mission, we had no idea of what the extremes of polar crater slopes were," said Neumann. "Now, we find slopes of 36 degrees over several kilometers (several thousands of yards) in Shackleton crater, for example, which would make traverses quite difficult and apparently causes landslides. The LOLA measurements of shadowed polar crater slopes and their surface roughness take place at scales from lander size to kilometers. These measurements are helping the LRO science team model the thermal environment of these craters, and team members are developing temperature maps of them."


Contact: Nancy Neal-Jones
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

Related medicine news :

1. Personalizing cancer: Creating biomarkers from tumor DNA
2. Onyx M.D. Awarded GSA Schedule Contract Creating Increases Access to Government Physician Jobs
3. Henry Ford Health System goes radical: Creating the hospital of the future
4. NACDS' Anderson Says Retailers and Suppliers' “Health and Wellness Renaissance” is Creating a “Historic, Watershed Moment”
5. Snowflake Mobile™ Launches Platform for Creating and Deploying Mobile Apps
6. Morehead Presents Webinar on “Creating a High-Performing RN Workforce”
7. Insulin-creating cell research may lead to better diabetes treatment
8. Womens Dermatologic Society Marks 35th Anniversary with Release of Unprecedented Book of Wisdom and Inspiration
9. Unprecedented AIUM training guidelines speak to future of musculoskeletal ultrasound
10. Iowan Tackles Everest and More in Unprecedented Adventure
11. Care2Learn Celebrates National Nurses Week with iPad Giveaway, Unprecedented Continuing Education Offer
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
NASA's LRO creating unprecedented topographic map of moon
(Date:10/12/2015)... ... 2015 , ... FEI Behavioral Health, a social enterprise with ... management, will present a session at the Wisconsin Society for Human Resource Management ... Chief Operating Officer Daniel Potterton will present an informative workshop, “Training HR to ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... ... October 12, 2015 , ... ... part of a contact channel benchmarking study. Be a part of ... operational strategies for improving customer experience, customer journey, contact channel execution and intelligence, ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... DC (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2015 , ... ... been selected to receive a Eugene Washington Engagement Award by the Patient-Centered Outcomes ... more effectively with the research community. , The project, entitled “Training Patients ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... ... 12, 2015 , ... The translation for ARIS® 7.x and 9.x to Microsoft ... installations into the Microsoft world. The ARIS models will be fully translated and mapped ... for both IT and Office users it is acknowledged as a competitive alternative to ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... ... October 12, 2015 , ... METTLER TOLEDO is ... processes. In addition, METTLER TOLEDO has collaborated with manufacturing consultant and lean laboratory ... help improve productivity through the identification and elimination of 'hidden' time-wasting activities. Mr ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2015)... This study focuses on China,s Genome-Based ... decades, the industry has been growing at a fast pace. ... consumptions in China have transformed ... is one of the world,s major producers for ... world, China is the world,s fastest ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... -- About epilepsy --> ... disorders manifested by benign to severe, disabling, and life-threatening ... malformations and tumors to meningitis, high-risk pregnancies, and trauma ... is unidentified, as is witnessed in the majority of ... between the inhibitory and excitatory signals of the brain, ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... Oct. 12, 2015 A new computer program ... can predict whether they will develop effective language skills ... a study in the journal Brain and Behavior ... In the journal,s Oct. 12 online edition, researchers ... program determines how specific regions of the brain respond ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: