Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Digital Elevation Models of the Moon

Robotic exploration missions provide NASA vast amounts of data to prepare for future human exploration missions and learn more about the universe.

Objective: The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is working with NASA to make lunar maps. Digital elevation models (DEMs) will be used to map terrain, locate lunar resources and assess prospective landing sites.

Description: The USGS constructed this DEM of a 50x80 km area of the Aristarchus Plateau, including the “Cobra Head.” Using Apollo Panoramic Camera images, the elevation of each lunar feature is calculated to an accuracy of 0.75 to 1.2 m.

Timeframe: The new Lunar Mapping and Modeling Project (LMMP) Web site, available in late fall 2010, will build integrated data sets from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), and other lunar missions over the next two years. The USGS generated maps will be available on that Web site.

Application: An integrated, easy-to-use Web site allows easy access to current lunar data and can be used by any scientist, student or lunar explorer.

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