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LRO Image of the Week #1!: Good Morning April 29, 2010

Posted by Nick Azer in LRO Image of the Week, Mare Nubium, selenography.

Today, I’m starting up a new weekly feature here at Luna C/I: The LRO (Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter) Image of the Week!

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is an ongoing NASA mission, which as a part of its goal to prepare NASA (or, as the case may now be,  private space or international interests) for eventual moon bases by scouting the moon in new detail has taken tons and tons of groundbreaking photos. Detail never before seen has probed scientific mysteries, found lost property, and even disproved a hoax or two.

Each week, I’ll pick an image with a good story or item of interest to it and explore its tale in brief.

So, without further ado, here’s the first image of the week. Which, fittingly, is the first image the LRO took:

This first image is of an area near Mare Nubium, which is the southernmost of the great near side maria (about 350 miles south of the Apollo 12 and 14 landings).

What’s interesting here is, as LROC Principal Investigator Mark Robinson puts it best below, is the time of day at the location:

“Our first images were taken along the moon’s terminator — the dividing line between day and night — making us initially unsure of how they would turn out. Because of the deep shadowing, subtle topography is exaggerated, suggesting a craggy and inhospitable surface. In reality, the area is similar to the region where the Apollo 16 astronauts safely explored in 1972.”- LROC Principal Investigator Mark Robinson, “LRO’s First Moon Images”, NASA

The Apollo astronauts reported the striking differences the landscape took on as the sun came around the surface, creating dramatic sights. The lunar dawn is a unique sight, and a perfectly fitting study for the dawn of a new chapter of lunar understanding :)

Check back next week as I delve into an important discovery that came about in part by way of those long shadows…



1. LRO Image of the Week #2: Eagle Has Landed « Luna C/I: Moon Colonization and Integration - May 8, 2010

[…] more on those long lunar shadows, check out my first LRO Image of the Week; and, be sure to check back next week for #3 […]

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