Monday, February 6, 2012

LROC releases 57 narrow angle elevation models

False color model of the highest vents of the many Marius Hills now believed to be a single shield volcano in central Oceanus Procellarum, a region which may have remained active until 1.1 billion years ago. Nearby (bottom, north) is the tadpole head of the unofficially named "Sinuous Rille A." This area was a prime potential landing site in the Apollo era, more recently in the second tier of 50 Constellation Regions of Interest. The low profile of the Marius Hills, surrounded by relatively flat Procellarum mare, has made appreciating their anatomy difficult except after local sunrise and before local sunset when even low features cast long shadows. LROC Narrow Angle Camera photography taken from overhead and from a slewed angle in orbits before and after such opportunities has made it possible to build very high resolution models when the rare opportunity presents itself [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University.
On January 15, the LROC team at Arizona State released 57 new high resolution digital terrain models (DTM). According to principal investigator Dr. Mark Robinson, "the new DTMs total about 170 Gbytes of data, and cover a variety of high science value targets."

"Start exploring today," Robinson urged. HERE.
The Marius Hills ROI (color strip closer to the horizon) in the context of LROC Wide Angle and Narrow Angle Camera photography showing a handful of the surrounding hills to the southwest and including the grayscale DTM of the Reiner Gamma albedo swirl over a 600 kilometer stretch of the Procellarum mare, a trail that seems to begin in those hills meandering to the famous central "eye" of Reiner Gamma, also a Tier 2 Constellation program Region of Interest and location of the Moon's most familiar crustal magnetic field. Since its discovery early in the history of nearside telescopic study observers have speculated whether the distinctive bright swirl of anomalously low optical maturity was accompanied by a topographic component. The grayscale DTM sliced through the dense "eye" of the formation appears to show nothing like a different crater count or change in elevation that explains the highly visible swirl, seemingly painted over the wide space of Procellarum mare.
The search for the once-elusive highest elevation on the lunar surface came to an end in the 21st century, first with the arrival of Japan's SELENE-1 (Kaguya) and soon confirmed by two digital elevation models under development using data from LRO laser altimetry (LOLA) and offset orbital photography from the LROC NAC and WAC instruments. Somewhat isolated from hills nearly as high along the northern outer rim of the ancient South Pole Aitken basin, north of the Korolev impact basin, this high promontory adjacent to the eastern wall of Engel'hardt crater on the Moon's farside tops out at 10,786 meters above global mean, almost 2 kilometers higher than Mt. Everest [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].
Explore the LROC Narrow Angle Camera Digital Terrain Models HERE.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Flyover (YouTube Vid - of the Highest Point region featured (the Lowest Point is covered, too).