Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

As this post is being written, we are 2 days and 22 hours from the launch of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. Phoenix has a special interest in this because Arizona State University (ASU) is responsible for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera.

[edit] And with the slip of the Space Shuttle launch, we are still 2 days and 22 hours away from LRO launch (18 June if all goes well).

The LRO is the first step on NASA’s Vision for Space Exploration. It is designed to create a comprehensive mapping of the lunar surface and potential resources. The LROC is one of six instruments in the payload:

Cosmic Ray Telescope for the Effects of Radiation
This telescope will characterize the lunar radiation environment allowing scientists to determine potential biological impacts.

Diviner Lunar Radiometer Experiment
This device will measure surface and subsurface temperatures from orbit. And will identify potential ice deposits.

Lyman Alpha Mapping Project
This will map the entire lunar surface in the far ultraviolet spectrum.

Lunar Exploration Neutron Detector
This instrument will search for hydrogen as evidence of water ice near the moon’s surface.

Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter
This will search for potential landing sites.

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera
Two narrow angle cameras will make high resolution black-and-white images of the surface. A third, wide angle camera, will take color and ultraviolet images over the complete lunar surface.

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