December 14, 2015

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A New Beginning for LPOD and Lunar Science

Originally published February 4, 2005


Image Credit: ESA's SMART-1

A New Beginning for LPOD and Lunar Science

SMART-1, which has been called SLOW-1 because of its 13.5 month-long voyage to the Moon has finally started imaging the surface. This is one of the images released by ESA showing data taken on the first close approach in early January. The area shown is near the North Pole? the craters Mouchez (82 km diameter, middle left) and Gioja (42 km, bottom right) are conspicuous. The relatively smooth plain that looks almost like a piece of Mare Frigoris is thought to be ejecta from Imbrium or earlier basins that was deposited in a fluidized condition so it acted almost like a liquid. Although the highest resolution for the SMART-1 cameras is 27 m (only achieved when the spacecraft is within 300 km of the surface) these first released images were taken from a higher altitude and have a resolution slightly lower than Lunar Orbiter IV, but minus the distracting strip boundaries. It has been a decade since the last images were taken from lunar orbit (Clementine) so the new data are highly welcome and hopefully will usher in a new era of lunar discoveries and excitement!

Chuck Wood

Related Links:
LO IV View
Rukl Plates 3 & 4

Yesterday's LPOD: Introducing PlanetWarp!

Tomorrow's LPOD: Ina Imaged!

Author & Editor:
Charles A. Wood



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