March 19, 2014
It Could Have Been Bigger
image from NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University
The LRO Camera team has just released another outstanding product, a new mosaic of the lunar north pole. This new mega-mosaic, which allows seamless zooming into to 2 m resolution Narrow Area Camera images, improves upon the original mosaic made with 100 m resolution LRO Wide Angle Camera images. The mosaic contains 681 gigapixels, probably the largest mosaic ever made. It is so small (!) because of the reduced resolution. All of the images were acquired during a mission phase when the spacecraft had a higher orbital elevation over the north polar area than usual, reducing the nominal 0.5 m resolution to 2 m. I suppose a 0.5 m resolution mosaic would have been 681 x 4 x 4 = 10,896 gigapixels, which would be rather large. All of the individual images within a given latitude band have a similar illumination angle, with the shadows unavoidably lengthening as the pole is approached. Two versions of the mosaic are available, with and without nomenclature, but surprisingly they seem to be independent of each other. Thus, enlarging an area to look at a feature and then clicking the "Gigapan with Nomenclature" button to see feature names, goes to a completely different scale image, either of the entire mosaic or where ever last examined in the nomenclature on mode. This is quite disconcerting and if there is a way to sync the two I haven't found it. I hope the product will be upgraded with the names toggling on and off, as on the Act-React QuickMap.
Yesterday's LPOD: Hunting the Moon
Tomorrow's LPOD: Mauve and Gold