January 9, 2011
No Hole At the Pole
image by LROC, (NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University)
Every day during the last three weeks I have checked to see if a new image has appeared at the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera webpage. Not yet. Maybe they are waiting for LPOD to feature the last one on Dec 15, so here it is. This image appears to show what flying saucer buffs have claimed for a long time - there is a hole at the pole that lets the saucers fly inside - that is where they hide from us. But this is the Moon, not the Earth. And we know that the hole near the middle of the image doesn't go into the lunar interior, only a kilometer or so to its floor. What this snowy looking scene does show is where and how long the Sun shines within 2° of the lunar south pole. The map was cleverly made by taking 1700 images over 6 months and converting each pixel in each image to either black or white depending on if it shows the surface or a shadow. Stacking the 1700 images produced this grayscale image. Places mostly in sunlight are bright (rim crests), and frequently shadowed areas (crater floors) are pretty dark. Presumably it is possible to determine from the grayscale brightness exactly what percentage of the time the area is illuminated. Bright spots will be possible locations for solar power stations, and always dark areas are targets for ice mining.
OT: I hope Gabrielle Gifford, congresswoman from Arizona, and the other wounded people in Tucson recover from the heinous attack Saturday; six others will be buried. The shooter is said to be mentally disturbed, and of course that is true for any mass murderer. In coming days we will learn more of his motives, but if the vitriolic, hateful and murderous language used by many self-called patriots is what justified this horrible act to the disturbed shooter, then many politicians and talk radio demagogues are accessories to his crime.
Yesterday's LPOD: Apollo 17 - an Alternate Reality
Tomorrow's LPOD: Core Beliefs