Many folks would like to see us back on the Moon and developing its resources.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

NASA Views Landing Site Through Eyes of Future Moon Crew

NASA Views Landing Site Through Eyes of Future Moon Crew
Copied the above press release below.
- LRK -

How about that, the link is live and much more information.
Check out the link for a number of animations.
- LRK -

Libration Movie
The moon's orbit is not perfectly circular its rotation axis is tilted
with respect to Earth allowing scientists to image slightly different
parts of the Moon during a its 28 day long lunar day. This movie shows
the portion of the Moon visible to the Earth over several months
around the time when radar data of the south polar region of the Moon
was collected.

Earth Moon Contact
Radar signals from the Goldstone Solar system Radar are reflected back
to Earth and received at two antennas separated by 13 kilometers. By
receiving at the two antennas, three dimensional topographic maps of
the lunar surface can be generated.

Digital Elevation Map of Lunar South Pole
Image brightness is generated from the strength of the radar echoes
that are bounced of the lunar surface and the color represents the
elevation. This map covers an area of 650 kilometers by 450 kilometers
with an elevation measurement every 40 meters.

Slope Map
This map shows the steepness of the terrain in the south polar region
of the moon. Using a map like this helps determine the assessable
areas to human or robotic explorers.

High Resolution Slope Map
The left image shows the topographic contours in color with each cycle
of color representing 2 kilometers of elevation change. The right
image is the corresponding slope map of the area. The slope map
indicates slopes in access of 20 degrees in the region around
Shakleton Crater.

Lunar Illumination Movie
This movie is a simulation of the amount of solar illumination in the
south polar region of moon over a solar day generated using high
resolution topography.

South Pole Flyover Animation
This animation depicts a flyover of the moon's south pole region
ending in the vicinity of Shackleton Crater.

Lunar Landing Animation
This animation utilizes the latest terrain data of the moon's south
pole region in the generation of a animation of what a future moon
crew could see during a descent to the rim of Shackleton Crater.
[And some more information. - LRK -]

Sooooh, it looks like they imaged the area of the Lunar South Pole
that is of interest for a possible landing site.

Next maybe we look in the Aitken basin for a place to put of a radio
telescope, well maybe a few more years from now.
- LRK -

The simulated lunar landing can also be viewed in the Multimedia Video
Featured section.

Thanks for looking up with me.

Larry Kellogg

Web Site:
RSS link:
NASA Views Landing Site Through Eyes of Future Moon Crew

Feb. 27, 2008

Stephanie Schierholz
Headquarters, Washington

DC Agle
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

RELEASE: 08-068


WASHINGTON - NASA has obtained the highest resolution terrain mapping
to date of the moon's rugged south polar region, with a resolution to
20 meters per pixel. Scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory
in Pasadena, Calif., collected the data using the facility's
Goldstone Solar System Radar located in California's Mojave Desert.
The imagery generated by the data has been incorporated into
animation depicting the descent to the lunar surface of a future
human lunar lander and a flyover of Shackleton Crater.

The mapping data collected indicate that the region of the moon's
south pole near Shackleton Crater is much more rugged than previously
understood. The Shackleton rim area is considered a candidate landing
site for a future human mission to the moon.

"The south pole of the moon certainly would be a beautiful place to
explore," said Doug Cooke, deputy associate administrator for the
Exploration Systems Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters,
Washington. "We now know the south pole has peaks as high as Mt.
McKinley and crater floors four times deeper than the Grand Canyon.
There are challenges that come with such rugged terrain, and these
data will be an invaluable tool for advance planning of lunar

Three times during a six-month period in 2006, scientists targeted the
moon's south polar region using Goldstone's 70-meter radar dish. The
antenna, three-quarters the size of a football field, sent a
500-kilowatt strong, 90-minute long radar stream 231,800 miles to the
moon. The radar bounced off the rough-hewn lunar terrain over an area
measuring about 400 miles by 250 miles. Signals were reflected back
to two of Goldstone's 34-meter antennas on Earth. The roundtrip time,
from the antenna to the moon and back, was about two-and-a-half

"I have not been to the moon, but this imagery is the next best
thing," said Scott Hensley, a scientist at JPL and lead investigator
for the study. "With these data we can see terrain features as small
as a house without even leaving the office."

Previously, the best resolution of the moon's south pole was generated
by the Clementine spacecraft, which could resolve lunar terrain
features near the south pole at 1 kilometer per pixel. The new
resolution generated by JPL is 50 times more detailed.

NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter will provide the next generation
of lunar imaging and data. The spacecraft is scheduled to launch in
late 2008. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera will retrieve high
resolution images of the moon's surface and lunar poles with
resolutions to 1 meter. These images will provide knowledge of polar
illumination conditions, identify potential resources and hazards,
and enable safe landing site selection. Other instruments aboard the
orbiter will return data such as temperature maps, ultraviolet
images, characterization of radiation on the moon and a high
resolution 3-D map. NASA's quest for up-to-date imagery of the moon
also will benefit from international missions such as Japan's Selene
robotic probe.

Funding for the program was provided by NASA's Exploration Systems
Mission Directorate.

To view animation, terrain maps of the moon's south pole and images
from this story, visit:

Video animation developed from the high resolution imaging also will
air on NASA Television. For NASA TV downlink and schedule
information, visit:

JPL manages the Goldstone Solar System Radar and the Deep Space
Network for NASA. To learn more about them, visit:

For information about NASA's exploration program to return humans to
the moon, visit:

Enhanced Radar Imagery of Lunar South Pole
Media Briefing 2 p.m. Eastern/11 a.m. Pacific

NASA has obtained the highest resolution terrain mapping to date of
the moon's rugged south polar region. Scientists at NASA's Jet
Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., generated the imagery using
data collected with the facility's Goldstone Solar System Radar.

Panelists for the Feb. 27 media briefing are:
--Doug Cooke, deputy associate administrator, Exploration Systems
Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters, Washington
--Scott Hensley, principal investigator, Lunar Image Team, JPL
--Kelly Snook, lunar program scientist, NASA Ames
--Eric De Jong, principal investigator, Solar System Visualization Project, JPL
[Go to the above link to see a number of animations. - LRK -]
Feb. 27, 2008

Stephanie Schierholz
Headquarters, Washington

Brandi Dean
Johnson Space Center, Houston

RELEASE: 08-068


HOUSTON - In a car commercial, it would sound odd: active suspension,
six-wheel drive with independent steering for each wheel, no doors,
no windows, no seats and the only color available is gold.

But NASA's latest concept vehicle is meant to go way off-road, as in
240,000 miles from the nearest pavement, and drive on the moon. NASA
is working to send astronauts to the moon by 2020 to set up a lunar
outpost, where they will do scientific research and prepare for
journeys to more distant destinations.

Built at NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston, the new design is one
concept for a future lunar truck. The vehicle provides an idea of
what the transportation possibilities may be when astronauts start
exploring the moon. Other than a few basic requirements, the primary
instruction given to the designers was to throw away assumptions made
on NASA's previous rovers and come up with new ideas.

NASA's Newest Concept Vehicles Take Off-Roading Out of This World
[See images of vehicles. - LRK -]
Feb. 27, 2008

Beth Dickey/Stephanie Schierholz
Headquarters, Washington

Lynnette Madison/Josh Byerly
Johnson Space Center, Houston



WASHINGTON - NASA has awarded SGT Inc. of Greenbelt, Md., a contract
for support services for Constellation Program, which is developing
new spacecraft to travel beyond low Earth orbit. The Constellation
fleet includes the Orion crew vehicle, the Ares I and Ares V launch
vehicles and Altair human lunar lander. The small business contract
has a potential value of $60 million with options.

Work on the contract will be performed at NASA's Johnson Space Center
in Houston with additional work possible at NASA's Kennedy Space
Center in Florida, NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.,
and NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

For more information about the contract, visit:

For information about NASA's exploration program, visit:



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