Planets and Moons  ID: 11271

Moon Scanner

The moon makes one revolution around Earth and one full turn on its axis every 27.3 days. Within this period, NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter will have made its own journey, circling the moon 348 times. Each successive orbit differs by a single degree of longitude, resulting in a path that allows the spacecraft to survey the entire moon every two weeks. During each orbit, LRO scans the moon's terrain using a special instrument called the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter. The data collected by the instrument not only helps scientists to create detailed elevation maps of the lunar surface, but also pinpoints LRO’s precise position in space. Watch the animation to see how LRO scans the moon.

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Story Credits

Ernie Wright (USRA)
Marte Newcombe (GST)

Video Editor:
Kayvon Sharghi (USRA)

Andrew Freeberg (NASA/GSFC)

John Keller (NASA/GSFC)

Aviva H. Rutkin (USRA)

Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
LRO image courtesy of NASA

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