Wednesday, June 24, 2009

USGS Flagstaff Astrogeology branch in return to Moon

Five planetary scientists from the USGS Astrogeology Science Center in Flagstaff are members of the science team for Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter [right, artist's concept of LRO in orbit around the Moon. Credit, NASA] that launched Saturday: Drs. Brent Archinal, Laszlo Keszthelyi, Larry Soderblom, Randy Kirk, and Lisa Gaddis. [I overlapped briefly with Lisa in grad school] says that "Among the instruments carried on LRO, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) will acquire high-resolution stereo images that will allow the USGS to create detailed topographic maps of specific sites. USGS maps can be used to prioritize which sites are of the most interest, to guide robotic spacecraft or astronauts to safe landings, and to plan surface operations, including roving and possibly construction on the surface of the Moon."

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