LRO Lowers Periapsis

  • Released Friday, May 8th, 2015
  • Updated Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023 at 1:49PM
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On May 4, 2015, Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) maneuvered into a new orbit that brings it closer than ever to the south pole of the Moon. The orbit is elliptical, with a closest approach, called periapsis, within 20 kilometers of the surface. The far end of the orbit (apoapsis) is roughly 165 kilometers above the north pole. The new orbit is relatively stable, requiring little fuel to maintain.

The illustration shows LRO flying over the terrain of the south pole. The terrain is a visualization that uses digital elevation maps from LRO's laser altimeter.

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