The LRO mission (Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter) consists of an orbiter, launched on June 18, 2009 on board an Atlas V rocket, dedicated to the study of the Moon, its resources and the identification of sites for future landings. Together with LRO, LCROSS (Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite) was also launched, a satellite for the identification of ice inside lunar craters.
The objectives of the mission were, among others, the topography of the lunar surface, a high-resolution mapping of the same, the study of cosmic radiation in the orbit of our satellite, the search for possible ice deposits beneath the surface.
Over the years, LRO has sent a great deal of data to astronomers on Earth, also making an accurate mapping of the surface of the Moon and also photographing the remains of space missions like the sites of the moon landing, one of the most convincing evidence that humanity has really gone on the Moon.
In the last hours NASA has released a new video, an updated 4K version of a video released six years ago, using the latest data taken from the orbiter. The result is truly amazing! It brings us closer to the Moon and shows us at least in part what NASA’s astronauts have seen.
Ernie Wright, of NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio, explains the video:
The tour visits a number of interesting sites chosen to illustrate a variety of lunar terrain features. Some are on the near side and are familiar to both professional and amateur observers on Earth, while others can only be seen clearly from space. Some are large and old, like Orientale and South Pole-Aitken, while others are smaller and younger like Tycho and Aristarchus. Constantly shadowed areas near the poles are hard to photograph but easier to measure with altimetry, while several of the Apollo landing sites, all relatively near the equator, have been imaged at resolutions as high as 10 inches per pixel.
Not only video, however, the LRO mission has given us other amazing images, including this wonderful picture of the Earthrise. This photo was obtained from the combination of high resolution black and white images with the NAC (Narrow Angle Camera) camera and color images at a lower resolution, obtained with the WAC (Wide Angle Camera) camera.
You can find more information on the LRO mission at these addresses: