Moon Map taken by NASA LRO is Best Moon Map ever (Photo)

By on Nov 20, 2011 in Astronomy, Science Comments
Moon map taken by NASA LRO

Moon map
Image: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/DLR/ASU

Moon map covering about 98.2 percent of the moon was taken by NASA‘s spacecraft Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). The moon map taken by LRO has the best resolution of the moon’s topographic map, according to reports by several international news sites on Friday, November 18, 2011.

The moon map features a pixel scale of about 330 feet (100 meters) and considered as the highest resolution ever taken by any satellite.

On Thursday, November 17, Mark Robinson, lead investigator of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) from Arizona State University, said in a statement that “Our new topographic view of the moon provides the dataset that lunar scientists have waited for since the Apollo era.” Robinson adds that “We can now determine slopes of all major geologic terrains on the moon at 100-meter scale, determine how the crust has deformed, better understand impact crater mechanics, investigate the nature of volcanic features and better plan future robotic and human missions to the moon.”

The latest moon map was a combination of thousands of pictures taken by a Wide Angle Camera of the LROC imaging system. The LROC Wide Angle Camera takes pictures of almost the whole moon every month from a distance of about 30 miles high.

NASA LRO, measuring about the size of a mini-Cooper car, has been in space since 2009 with a $504 million budget to map the moon in high detail. The spacecraft was able to trace some moon artifacts that include footprints of NASA‘s Apollo landers and the boot prints by astronauts from the 1969 and 1972 lunar exploration.

Persistent shadows prevented the LROC from mapping the whole moon.

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