Search Johnson


Text Size


Kari Fluegel March 18, 1993

Johnson Space Center

Pam Thompson

Lunar and Planetary Institute

Release No. 93-022


Clementine, a mission that will test the space worthiness of a variety of advanced sensors for military surveillance satellites, will begin the first global mapping of the moon and will provide new, important information for planetary scientists.

In a paper presented to the 24th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Houston, Paul Spudis of the Lunar and Planetary Institute and Paul Lucey of the University of Hawaii discuss how the mission will contribute to the study of the geological processes and history of the Moon.

Conducted jointly by the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization and NASA, Clementine will be sent for an extended stay in the vicinity of the Moon and on a flyby of the Apollo asteroid 1620 Geographos. Clementine, which will be launched in January 1994, is a small (148 kg) spacecraft that will carry a variety of advanced sensors spanning several wavelengths that will map the surface of the Moon and Geographos. In addition it will carry an imaging LIDAR that will be operated as both a high-resolution, multicolor imager and as a laser altimeter and thermal infrared imager.

In two months of mapping, Clementine will image the entire Moon in 12 spectral channels and obtain laser-ranging altimetetric data for the middle

- more -

- 2-

latitudes from 30 degrees North to 30 degrees South. After Mapping the Moon, the spacecraft will enter an orbit that will allow it to encounter Geographos at a distance of less than 100 km, obtaining multi-channel spectral data and high resolution images (as good as one meter per pixel for some areas). The entire project will encompass about three years and will conclude after Clementine has transmitted the flyby data to Earth.

The pressing need for global mapping of the Moon, by a variety of remote-sensing techniques, has been stressed repeatedly by every lunar science report for the last 20 years. The Clementine mission will begin this task. It will allow scientists to construct a global digital image model, augmented by topographic profiles of the middle latitudes and a geodetic control net that, when tied to the Apollo data, should permit accurate determination of the true positions of surface features in inertial space. The global image model will serve as a base to overlay other data in deciphering volcanic, tectonic and impact processes that have shaped lunar history.

The combined visible and IR cameras will provide a global color map from which researchers can interpret the distribution of Lunar rock types, both highlands and mare, on the near and far sides. Scientists will also be able to examine exactly how impacts that formed basins have acted as probes of the crust, enabling them to determine the structure of the crust in three dimensions.

All of this information can be used to address fundamental questions in lunar science and will permit a first-order assessment of Lunar resources. Such an assessment forms a strategic base of knowledge for the planners of future human and robotic missions to the Moon.

The 24th Annual Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, set for March 15-19, is co-sponsored by the Lunar and Planetary Institute and the NASA Johnson Space Center.

- end -


- end -

text-only version of this release