July 3, 2009

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73 Centimeters

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera full resolution image from NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University

73 cm is the pixel size of the first test LRO image - better than 1 meter. And it was released right away, with many more promised. This image is about 1400 m wide and shows a tiny piece of highlands within Deslandres crater. Virtually everything visible is due to impact cratering. The larger (hundreds of meters!) crater at upper right has soft-edges due to pummeling by much smaller impact events. The smaller, sharper pits are more recently formed craters that have not yet had time to be erased by even smaller impacts. Lines of craters (bottom center) are tiny secondary craters (from some unseen small primary) and a wide cluster line of the same are at upper left. The few hundred meter wide cluster of craters above bottom right show that secondaries sometimes come down as a compact splat, rather than in a line. Finally, the texture here is probably radially swept ejecta from a larger impact crater. This image and one other are the official releases but the entire 90 km image strip is available to be explored with a wonderful move and zoom viewer that will ultimately contain all the thousands of images to follow. I would think that there will be so many images that there may not be time for each one to be examined carefully by the LRO team. This viewer will become a tremendous time sink as I and others visit often to see what is new! Congratulations to Mark Robinson and the LRO team!

Chuck Wood

CORRECTION: Despite this LPOD's title the actual resolution is only 1.4 m/pixel because pixels were summed to increase signal to noise for this terminator image - so future images will be twice the resolution of this! Thanks to Sam Lawrence of the LROC team for the clarification.

UPDATE Jim Mosher has identified the place in Deslandres covered by the first released LRO image strip.

Related Links
Some micro-spot within Rükl plate 65

Yesterday's LPOD: Surfaces

Tomorrow's LPOD: No Z


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