Thursday, April 10, 2008

More on the JAXA Moon Map

By Kazuki Shiibashi/Aerospace Daily & Defense Report

The Japanese SELenological and ENgineering Explorer (Selene) team revealed its first preview of the world's first-ever global topographic map of the moon April 9.

The preview map includes two weeks of data taken by the Laser Altimeter (LALT) instrument, which was then analyzed by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) and processed into map form by the Japanese Geographical Survey Institute (GSI).

The map already contains 1,127,392 point measurements of the lunar surface, which dwarfs similar past maps of the moon, such as the one compiled by United States Geological Survey's 'Unified Lunar Control Network 2005,' which used 272,931 points.

Selene scientists say they had already collected more than 6 million measurements by the end of last month (since the beginning of the mission) and expect more than 30 million points to be obtained within in one full year of observation. Topography data is essential for the mission as they need to be combined with other instrument data - e.g. in conjunction with the gravity field measurements to reveal details of the lunar crust.

Links to the map can be found at

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