Researchers Estimate Ice Content of Crater at Moon's South Pole

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    NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft has returned data that indicate ice may make up as much as 22 percent of the surface material in a crater located on the moon's south pole.

    The team of NASA and university scientists using laser light from LRO's laser altimeter examined the floor of Shackleton crater. They found the crater's floor is brighter than those of other nearby craters, which is consistent with the presence of small amounts of ice. This information will help researchers understand crater formation and study other uncharted areas of the moon. The findings are published in Thursday's edition of the journal Nature.

    Caption: Elevation (left) and shaded relief (right) image of Shackleton, a 21-km-diameter (12.5-mile-diameter) permanently shadowed crater adjacent to the lunar south pole. The structure of the crater's interior was revealed by a digital elevation model constructed from over 5 million elevation measurements from the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter.

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    Credit: NASA/Zuber, M.T. et al., Nature, 2012

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    NASA Goddard Space Flight Center enables NASA’s mission through four scientific endeavors: Earth Science, Heliophysics, Solar System Exploration, and Astrophysics. Goddard plays a leading role in NASA’s accomplishments by contributing compelling scientific knowledge to advance the Agency’s mission.

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    M Zoots, tlwmdbt, larryoien, and 72 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    1. larryoien 22 months ago | reply

      Stunning image!.. amazing technology!

    2. Sunciti _ Sundaram's Images + Messages 22 months ago | reply

      Amazing Information. Excellence In Image Presentation. Love It and I Like It. Thanks.

    3. Pyrrhos 22 months ago | reply

      I wish I could do that photographic trick !

    4. IRENE is GONE to IPERNITY 22 months ago | reply

      amazing technology and brilliant image, thanks for sharing!

    5. jimberneike 22 months ago | reply

      Wow! What an other-worldly image. The detail is fascinating.

    6. dodagp 22 months ago | reply

      So impressive and spectacular !!!!

    7. Σταύρος 22 months ago | reply

      Simply amazing !!

    8. mvidarus 21 months ago | reply

      This is a computer-made image based on altimetry data, not a photograph. The left side is colour graded with the warmest colours representing the highest terrain. The right side is a photorealistic rendering made to simulate a fixed light source.

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