[meteorite-list] SMART-1: Travel Maps of the Lunar North Pole

From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Tue, 11 Dec 2007 12:18:32 -0800 (PST)
Message-ID: <200712112018.MAA23839_at_zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>


SMART-1: Travel maps of the lunar north pole
European Space Agency
5 December 2007

A new map obtained with SMART-1 data shows the geography and
illumination of the lunar north pole. Such maps will be of great use for
future lunar explorers.
The lunar poles are very interesting for future science and exploration
of the Moon mainly because of their exposure to sunlight. They display
areas of quasi-eternal light, have a stable thermal environment and are
close to dark areas that could host water ice ??? potential future lunar
base sites.

The SMART-1 north pole map, covering an area of about 800 by 600 km,
shows geographical locations of some craters of interest. Peary is a
large impact crater closest to the north pole. At this latitude the
interior of the crater receives little sunlight, but SMART-1 was able to
observe it during phases when the crater floor was sufficiently
illuminated for imaging.

A previous lunar mission, the U.S. Clementine, observed the Peary crater
during the north summer, and identified some areas particularly
illuminated by the sun in that season. With its Advanced Moon Imaging
Experiment (AMIE) micro-camera, SMART-1 has complemented this data set
by identifying the areas that are also well-illuminated during northern

[SMART-1 north pole travel map]
"Solar illumination makes these areas ideal for robotic outposts or
lunar bases making use of solar power," says ESA's SMART-1 Project
Scientist, Bernard Foing.

Hermite is another lunar impact crater located along the northern lunar
limb, close to the north pole of the Moon. Looking from Earth, it is
viewed nearly from the side, illuminated by oblique sunlight.

Crater Plaskett is located on the northern far-side of the Moon, about
200 km from the north pole. It receives sunlight at a low angle. Because
of the isolation of this crater and its location near the lunar limb, it
has been suggested as a possible additional site of a future lunar base
that could be used to simulate isolated conditions during a manned
mission to Mars.

"From the crater rim, rovers could be sent out to explore nearby craters
which are permanently in shadow and may contain water ice. If the layers
of ice come from the volatiles deposited by comets and water-rich
asteroids, we could better understand how, and how much, water and
organic material was delivered to Earth over its history," said Foing.

Notes for editors:
These images were analysed in the framework of a study project for the
design and operations of lunar polar robotic landers and rovers, by
Marina Ellouzi, a Master's student in space engineering at the
Paris-Meudon Observatory. The polar mosaics were presented and discussed
at the 9th ILEWG International lunar conference in October 2007.
For more information:
Bernard Foing, ESA SMART-1 Project Scientist
Email: Bernard.Foing _at_ esa.int

Jean - Luc Josset, SMART-1 AMIE Principal Investigator, Space-X Space
Exploration Institute
Email : Jean-Luc.Josset _at_ space-x.ch
Received on Tue 11 Dec 2007 03:18:32 PM PST

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