Skip all navigation and jump to content Jump to site navigation Jump to section navigation.
NASA Logo - Goddard Space Flight Center + Visit NASA.gov
HOME PROJECTS RESOURCES SEARCH MAP

+ Advanced Search
Home
Home
View Most Recently Released Imagery
View Gallery of Imagery: A topical collection of SVS Imagery
Search Imagery by the keywords assigned to it
Search Imagery by the instruments that supplied data for a visualization product
Search Imagery by the series of visualizations that have been produced
Search Imagery by the scientist providing the data used in a visualization product
Search Imagery by the animator that created the product
Search Imagery by the identification number assigned to the visualization product
See other search options





  + RSS Feeds
  + Podcasts
blank image
Previous Animation Number   Next Animation Number
GRAIL Free-Air Gravity Map for the Cover of Science

These print-resolution stills were created for the cover of the February 8, 2013 issue of Science. They show the free-air gravity map developed by the Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission.

If the Moon were a perfectly smooth sphere of uniform density, the gravity map would be a single, featureless color, indicating that the force of gravity at a given elevation was the same everywhere. But like other rocky bodies in the solar system, including Earth, the Moon has both a bumpy surface and a lumpy interior. Spacecraft in orbit around the Moon experience slight variations in gravity caused by both of these irregularities.

The free-air gravity map shows deviations from the mean, the gravity that a cueball Moon would have. The deviations are measured in milliGals, a unit of acceleration. On the map, dark purple is at the low end of the range, at around -400 mGals, and red is at the high end near +400 mGals. Yellow denotes the mean.

These views show a part of the Moon's surface that's never visible from Earth. They are centered on lunar coordinates 29°N 142°E. The large, multi-ringed impact feature near the center is Mare Moscoviense. The crater Mendeleev is south of this. The digital elevation model for the terrain is from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter laser altimeter (LOLA). Merely for plausibility, the sun angle and starry background are accurate for specific dates (December 21, 2012, 0:00 UT and January 8, 2013, 14:00 UT, respectively).
Share: Share via E-mail E-mail   Share on TwitterTwitter
 
Another multimedia item related to this story:
     GRAIL Primary Mission Gravity Maps (AGU 2012) (id 4014)

The GRAIL free-air gravity map of the Moon, rendered on the Moon's surface as it floats in front of a starry backdrop (the constellation Hydra). About 75% of the visible disk is illuminated from the left, lighting longitudes roughly between 75° and 180° east. The view is centered on Mare Moscoviense, a feature on the far side.    The GRAIL free-air gravity map of the Moon, rendered on the Moon's surface as it floats in front of a starry backdrop (the constellation Hydra). About 75% of the visible disk is illuminated from the left, lighting longitudes roughly between 75° and 180° east. The view is centered on Mare Moscoviense, a feature on the far side.

Available formats:
  3000 x 3000     TIFF     11 MB
  320 x 180         PNG     102 KB


The GRAIL free-air gravity map of the Moon, rendered on the Moon's surface as it floats in front of a starry backdrop (the constellation Cetus). About 60% of the visible disk is illuminated from the right, lighting longitudes roughly between 130°E and 130°W. The view is centered on Mare Moscoviense, a feature on the far side.    The GRAIL free-air gravity map of the Moon, rendered on the Moon's surface as it floats in front of a starry backdrop (the constellation Cetus). About 60% of the visible disk is illuminated from the right, lighting longitudes roughly between 130°E and 130°W. The view is centered on Mare Moscoviense, a feature on the far side.

Available formats:
  3000 x 3000     TIFF       9 MB


The GRAIL free-air gravity map of the Moon, rendered on the Moon's surface, with no background (the image includes an alpha channel). About 75% of the visible disk is illuminated from the left, lighting longitudes roughly between 75° and 180° east. The view is centered on Mare Moscoviense, a feature on the far side.    The GRAIL free-air gravity map of the Moon, rendered on the Moon's surface, with no background (the image includes an alpha channel). About 75% of the visible disk is illuminated from the left, lighting longitudes roughly between 75° and 180° east. The view is centered on Mare Moscoviense, a feature on the far side.

Available formats:
  3000 x 3000     TIFF       9 MB


The GRAIL free-air gravity map of the Moon, rendered on the Moon's surface, with no background (the image includes an alpha channel). About 60% of the visible disk is illuminated from the right, lighting longitudes roughly between 130    The GRAIL free-air gravity map of the Moon, rendered on the Moon's surface, with no background (the image includes an alpha channel). About 60% of the visible disk is illuminated from the right, lighting longitudes roughly between 130

Available formats:
  3000 x 3000     TIFF       8 MB


The starfield for the first image, a 13.7° field of view centered on 9h 7m, -12° 15', at the western end of the constellation Hydra. The bright star in the upper left is Alphard (alpha Hydrae).    The starfield for the first image, a 13.7° field of view centered on 9h 7m, -12° 15', at the western end of the constellation Hydra. The bright star in the upper left is Alphard (alpha Hydrae).

Available formats:
  3000 x 3000     TIFF       5 MB


The starfield for the second image, a 13.7° field of view centered on 2h 30m, -16° 38', a point near the eastern edge of the constellation Cetus. The four bright stars in the upper left quarter of the image are (clockwise from the top left) epsilon, rho, sigma, and pi Ceti.    The starfield for the second image, a 13.7° field of view centered on 2h 30m, -16° 38', a point near the eastern edge of the constellation Cetus. The four bright stars in the upper left quarter of the image are (clockwise from the top left) epsilon, rho, sigma, and pi Ceti.

Available formats:
  3000 x 3000     TIFF       3 MB

Short URL to This Page:http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/goto?4041
Animation Number:4041
Completed:2013-02-05
Animator:Ernie Wright (USRA) (Lead)
Scientists:Erwan M. Mazarico (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
 Maria Zuber (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
 David E. Smith (NASA/GSFC)
 Gregory A. Neumann (NASA/GSFC)
Platforms/Sensors/Data Sets:GRAIL/Lunar Gravity Ranging System/Free-Air Gravity (2012)
 U.S. Naval Observatory/Third CCD Astrograph/Catalog
 Yale Bright Star Catalogue
 Hipparcos/Telescope/Tycho 2 Catalogue
Series:The Moon
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio
 
Keywords:
SVS >> Gravity
SVS >> Lunar
SVS >> Moon
SVS >> Lunar Topography
SVS >> Lunar Elevation Map
SVS >> Satellites >> Lunar
SVS >> GRAIL
SVS >> Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory
Science paper:Science vol. 339 no. 6120 (February 8, 2013)
 
 


Back to Top
Many of our multimedia items use the GCMD keywords. These keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation:
Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version 8.0.0.0.0

USA.gov logo - the U.S. Government's official Web portal. + Privacy Policy and Important Notices
+ Reproduction Guidelines
NASA NASA Official:
SVS Contact:
Curator: