LRO Spacecraft and Instruments

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LRO Instruments


The LRO Spacecraft, Instrument by Instrument

Several instruments that will help NASA characterize the moon's surface have been installed on LRO. The powerful equipment will bring the moon into sharper focus and reveal new insights about the celestial body nearest Earth. Roll over the photograph to locate LRO's instruments on the spacecraft. (Note: This photo was taken before Mini-RF was installed.)

LRO's CRATER instrument CRaTER Credit: NASA/Debbie McCallum
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Cosmic Ray Telescope for the Effects of Radiation

CRaTER will characterize the lunar radiation environment, allowing scientists to determine potential impacts to astronauts and other life. It also will test models on the effects of radiation and measure radiation absorption by a type of plastic that is like human tissue. The results could aid in the development of protective technologies to help keep future lunar crew members safe. CRaTER was built and developed by Boston University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston.

> More information about CRaTER

LRO's Diviner Lunar Radiometer Experiment DLRE Credit: NASA/Debbie McCallum
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Diviner Lunar Radiometer Experiment

The Diviner Lunar Radiometer Experiment (DLRE) will identify cold traps -- areas cold enough to preserve ice for billions of years -- and potential ice deposits as well as rough terrain, rock abundance, and other landing hazards. Diviner was built and developed by the University of California, Los Angeles, and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. Diviner will measure surface and subsurface temperatures from orbit. It will identify cold traps and potential ice deposits as well as rough terrain and other landing hazards.

> More information about Diviner

LRO's Lyman Alpha Mapping Project LAMP Credit: NASA/Debbie McCallum
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Lyman-Alpha Mapping Project The Lyman-Alpha Mapping Project (LAMP) will search for surface ice and frost in the polar regions and provide images of permanently shadowed regions illuminated only by starlight and the glow of interplanetary hydrogen emission, the Lyman-Alpha line. Permanently shadowed regions on the moon's surface, such as the bottoms of some of the deep craters at the lunar poles, are very cold and might hold water ice. The Lyman-Alpha Mapping Project (LAMP) was built and developed at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio.

> More information about LAMP

LRO's Lunar Exploration Neutron Detector LEND Credit: NASA/Debbie McCallum
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Lunar Exploration Neutron Detector

The Lunar Exploration Neutron Detector (LEND) will create high-resolution maps of hydrogen distribution and gather information about the neutron component of the lunar radiation environment. LEND data will be analyzed to search for evidence of water ice near the moon’s surface. LEND was developed at the Institute for Space Research in Moscow.

> More information about LEND

LRO's laser altimeter LOLA Credit: NASA/Debbie McCallum
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Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter

The Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) will measure the slope of potential landing sites and lunar surface roughness. LOLA will generate a high-resolution, 3-D map of the moon. LOLA also will measure and analyze the lunar topography to identify permanently illuminated and permanently shadowed areas. Certain mountain peaks at the lunar poles might be permanently illuminated. These regions may be good places for a solar power station. The Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) was conceived and built by scientists and engineers at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

> More information on LOLA

Image of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) LROC Credit: Malin Space Science Systems
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Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera

Two narrow-angle cameras on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) will make high-resolution, black-and-white images of the surface, capturing images of the poles with resolutions down to 1 meter (about 3.3 feet). A third, wide-angle camera (WAC), will take color and ultraviolet images over the complete lunar surface at 100-meter (almost 330-foot) resolution. These images will show polar lighting conditions, identify potential resources and hazards, and aid selection of safe landing sites. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC), developed at Arizona State University in Tempe.

> More information about LROC

Image of the mini-RF instrument on LRO Mini-RF Credit: NASA/Debbie McCallum
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The Miniature Radio Frequency (Mini-RF) is an advanced radar that will be used to image the polar regions and search for water ice. In addition, it will be used to demonstrate the ability to communicate with an Earth-based ground station.

> More information about Mini-RF

Page Last Updated: February 4th, 2014
Page Editor: Rob Garner