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Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter


— Space

Shelter on the Moon could be the pits

Moving into a new neighborhood means finding a place to live, and 45 years after Neil Armstrong set foot on the Moon, our largest satellite is still notoriously short on housing. However, that may be changing as NASA announces that its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) has discovered over 200 deep pits on the Moon that could not only provide scientists with deeper insights into the geology of the Moon, but could also be used as sites for future Lunar outposts. Read More
— Space

NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter sees GRAIL's lunar impact

NASA has released images and findings from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), which witnessed the impact of NASA's twin GRAIL (Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory) spacecraft as they struck the Moon near the North Pole in a controlled impact on Dec.17, 2012. The unmanned orbiter sent back before and after images of the impact sites and used its Lyman-Alpha Mapping Project (LAMP) instrument to study the plume of dust and gas thrown up by the double impact, producing new insights into the processes going on in the interior of the Moon. Read More
— Space

NASA sends Mona Lisa to the Moon

High art recently met high tech as NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) received an image of the Mona Lisa via laser. Traveling about 240,000 miles (386,000 km), the image was sent to the probe in lunar orbit using a laser beamed from NASA’s Next Generation Satellite Laser Ranging (NGSLR) station at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland as a demonstration of lasers as a deep-space communications tool. Read More
— Science

NASA's LRO gives lunar surface the 3D treatment

It’s time to pull out the old red/cyan 3D glasses for these anaglyphs created with high-resolution stereo images beamed back from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. Having revealed the fate of the Apollo lunar flags earlier this year, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) is now enabling the creation of anaglyphs to bring the third dimension to craters, volcanic flows, lava tubes and tectonic features on the lunar surface. Read More
— Space

New NASA pics show Apollo astronauts' footpaths on the moon

True story: when I was a little kid and was at an observatory looking at the Moon through a telescope, I loudly proclaimed "I think I can see one of the moon buggies!" Everyone laughed, and I felt stupid. Well, several decades later, I've been somewhat vindicated. Although it's not an earthbound telescope, NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) did recently capture images of the Apollo 12, 14 and 17 landing sites. The Apollo 17 lunar rover is indeed visible, as are the descent stages of the three spacecraft, and foot paths made by the astronauts. Read More
— Science

Much more than water found on the moon

A year ago, the twin impacts of NASA’s LCROSS (Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite) spacecraft and a companion rocket stage into the lunar surface revealed the presence of water on the moon. Now new data uncovered by LCROSS and the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) has revealed that the lunar soil within shadowy craters is rich in useful materials, and that the moon is chemically active and has a water cycle. Read More
— Science

New images reveal moon isn’t as ‘full’ as it used to be – and could still be shrinking

The moon is shrinking according to a team analyzing new images from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). The images reveal previously unknown cliffs, called lobate scarbs. These are thrust faults that occur primarily in the lunar highlands that indicate the moon shrank globally in the geologically recent past and might still be shrinking today. Although they were first recognized in photographs taken near the moon's equator by the panoramic cameras flown on the Apollo 15, 16 and 17 missions, the fourteen previously unknown lobate scarbs revealed by the very high resolution images taken by the LRO camera indicate that the thrust faults are globally distributed and not clustered near the moon’s equator. Read More
— Science

NASA finds lost Soviet lunar rover after 40 years

On November 17, 1970, the Soviet spacecraft Luna 17 delivered the lunar rover Lunokhod 1 onto the surface of the moon. For 11 months after, controlled in real-time by a human team in Moscow, it explored seven miles of the lunar surface. Sending back reams of data, it was considered to be one of the biggest successes of the little-known Soviet lunar exploration program. And then, it disappeared. It wasn’t abducted or anything, it just ceased transmitting, as space probes have a tendency to do. This spring, NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spied it on the moon’s surface. The really neat thing: it can still reflect laser beams back to Earth as if it were brand new. Read More
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