Enhanced Radar Imagery of Lunar South Pole
Media Briefing 2 p.m. Eastern/11 a.m. Pacific
NASA has obtained the highest resolution terrain mapping to
date of the moon’s rugged south polar region. Scientists at NASA's Jet
Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., generated the imagery using data
collected with the facility's Goldstone Solar System Radar.
+ View release
Panelists for the Feb. 27 media briefing are:
, deputy associate administrator, Exploration Systems Mission
Directorate, NASA Headquarters, Washington
, principal investigator, Lunar Image Team, JPL
, lunar program scientist, NASA Ames
--Eric De Jong
, principal investigator, Solar System Visualization Project, JPL
Media unable to attend can listen in to the briefing at: http://www.nasa.gov/newsaudio .
Media can also listen and call in with questions on a special phone line.
Contact a media representative listed below for details.
DC Agle 818-393-9011 / Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
Beth Dickey/Stephanie Schierholz 202-358-2087/4997 / NASA Headquarters, Washington
Sharon Grace 703-264-7532 / American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Images / Animations
› Play animation (Quicktime - 827Kb)
The moon's orbit is not perfectly circular its rotation axis is tilted
with respect to Earth allowing scientists to image slightly different
parts of the Moon during a its 28 day long lunar day. This movie shows
the portion of the Moon visible to the Earth over several months
around the time when radar data of the south polar region of the Moon
› High-resolution TIFF (7.6mb)
Earth Moon Contact
Radar signals from the Goldstone Solar system Radar are reflected back to Earth and received at two antennas separated by 13 kilometers. By receiving at the two antennas, three dimensional topographic maps of the lunar surface can be generated.
› High-resolution TIFF (13Mb)
Digital Elevation Map of Lunar South Pole
Image brightness is generated from the strength of the radar echoes
that are bounced of the lunar surface and the color represents the
elevation. This map covers an area of 650 kilometers by 450 kilometers
with an elevation measurement every 40 meters.
South Pole Zoom In
Starting from a wide area map of the lunar south pole we progressively
zoom into the region around Shakleton Crater.
› High-resolution TIFF (13Mb)
This map shows the steepness of the terrain in the south polar region
of the moon. Using a map like this helps determine the assessable
areas to human or robotic explorers.
› Higher resolution (358Kb)
High Resolution Slope Map
The left image shows the topographic contours in color with each cycle
of color representing 2 kilometers of elevation change. The right
image is the corresponding slope map of the area. The slope map
indicates slopes in excess of 20 degrees in the region around
› Play animation (Quicktime - 1.6Mb)
Lunar Illumination Movie
This movie is a simulation of the amount of solar illumination in the
south polar region of moon over a solar day generated using high
› Play animation (Quicktime - 739Kb)
South Pole Flyover Animation
This animation depicts a flyover of the moon's south pole region
ending in the vicinity of Shackleton Crater.
› Play animation (Quicktime - 2.7Mb)
Lunar Landing Animation
This animation utilizes the latest terrain data of the moon's south
pole region in the generation of a animation of what a future moon
crew could see during a descent to the rim of Shackleton Crater.
Spatial Resolution Comparison
Graphic illustrates the increase in resolution that the Lunar Recon
Orbiter (LRO) will be able to achieve in selected regions compared
with the Goldstone Solar System Radar.
Clementine vs Radar
This graphic shows the resolution of the moon south pole by the
Clementine spacecraft's optical system and then by the Goldstone Solar