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

Thursday, April 29, 2010

LRO Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter - Something we can watch now


LRO Observations

View the full gallery of images gathered from LRO's instruments and the associated information products derived from them. Thus information, including boulder distribution maps, slope maps and digital terrain models will guide engineers and scientists as they develop their plans for how they will continue to explore the moon.

* New Lunar Images and Data Available to the Public

* 3D Measurements of Apollo 14 Landing Site

* LRO Team Begins to Release New Image Series

* LROC Prepares for Planetary Data System Data Transfer

* NASA Unveils Latest Results From Lunar Mission

* Diviner Observes Extreme Polar Temperatures

* Latest Results Help Prepare for Next Stage of Scientific Discovery

* Popular Science Recognizes LRO in 'Best of What's New'

* Adler Planetarium to construct a 3D overflight simulator for its
"Shoot for the Moon" exhibit

* LCROSS Impact Data Indicates Water on Moon

* LRO Gets Additional View of Apollo 11 Landing Site


LRO has been sending us back images of various Apollo sites and of the Soviet Lunokhod rovers.
The Rovers had laser reflectors and the one from Lunokhod 2 has been used for returning signals from Earth. Now the other reflector from Lunokhod 1 has been found and laser beams
sent to it and reflected back to Earth.
- LRK -

NASA's LRO Team Helps Track Laser Signals to Russian Rover Mirror

Using information provided by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) instrument teams, researchers at the University of California San Diego successfully pinpointed the location of a long lost light reflector on the lunar surface by bouncing laser signals from Earth to the Russian Lunokhod 1 retroreflector.

The initial imaging of the two Russian rovers, Lunokhod 1 and 2 were made earlier this year by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) team, led by Mark Robinson from Arizona State University in Tempe.

On April 22, Tom Murphy from the University of California San Diego and his team sent pulses of laser light from the 3.5 meter telescope at the Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico, zeroing in on the target coordinates provided by the LROC images and altitudes provided by the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter.

“We quickly verified the signal to be real and found it to be surprisingly bright: at least five times brighter than the other Soviet reflector, on the Lunokhod 2 rover, to which we routinely send laser pulses,” said Tom Murphy, an associate professor of physics at the University of California San Diego. “The best signal we’ve seen from Lunokhod 2 in several years of effort is 750 return photons, but we got about 2,000 photons from Lunokhod 1 on our first try. It’s got a lot to say after almost 40 years of silence.”

Since Apollo deployed laser retroreflectors, astronomers have routinely used them track how the moon is slowly moving away from the Earth. This helps scientists develop a better understanding of the processes that are causing this motion, including what’s occurring inside the moon’s core and the tidal motions on the Earth.


What did they say, the best return signal from Lunokhod 2 has been 750 photons. That is a reflected laser beam bouncing back from the Moon some quarter of a million miles away and you catch 750 photons. Now they are excited about being able to catch 2000 photons, and I thought
my old flashlight with tired batteries was dim.
- LRK -

Lost Soviet Reflecting Device Rediscovered on the Moon
By Staff

posted: 27 April 2010
09:57 am ET

A long lost light reflector that was left on the surface of the moon by the former Soviet Union has been rediscovered by a team of American physicists after nearly 40 years using lasers beamed from Earth.

The French-built laser reflector was sent aboard the unmanned Soviet Luna 17 mission, which landed on the moon on Nov. 17, 1970 and released a robotic rover that roamed the lunar surface and carried the sought after laser reflector.

The Soviet lander and its rover, called Lunokhod 1, were last heard from on Sept. 14, 1971.

"No one had seen the reflector since 1971," said Tom Murphy, an associate professor of physics at the University of California San Diego. Murphy leads a team of scientists in a long-term effort to use laser reflectors to measure the shape of the lunar orbit and look for deviations in Einstein's Theory of General Relativity.

"We routinely use the three hardy reflectors placed on the moon by the Apollo 11, 14 and 15 missions, and occasionally the Soviet-landed Lunokhod 2 reflector – though it does not work well enough to use when illuminated by sunlight," Murphy said. "But we yearned to find Lunokhod 1."


Well another reason to look up. :-)

Thanks for looking up with me.
- LRK -

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Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter - Fact Sheet

Return to the Moon: The First Step The United States has begun a program to extend human presence in the solar system, beginning with a return to the Moon. Returning to the Moon will enable the pursuit of scientific activities that address our fundamental questions about the history of Earth, the solar system, and the universe— and about our place in them. Returning to the Moon will allow us to test technologies, systems, flight operations, and exploration techniques to reduce the risk and enable future missions to Mars and beyond.




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