Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 07/30/2018 - 14:12

Earth’s natural satellite is currently under observation by the NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft.  Astrogeology is involved in a number of studies as part of the science team for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera, which is obtaining hundreds of terabytes of high-resolution (0.5-2 m/pixel) images of the Moon, the DIVINER infrared imaging spectrometer, and the Mini-RF radar system which produces 7.5 m/pixel views inside the permanently shadowed polar craters.  Astrogeology is playing a leading role in cataloging and understanding the diversity of explosive volcanic features on the Moon, some of which could contain high concentrations of materials useful for future astronauts.

Astrogeology also maintains the highest quality data on the brightness of the Moon via the Lunar Calibration Program (formerly ROLO).  These data are used to calibrate many space-borne Earth observing instruments, including MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer).  Lunar calibration, with USGS involvement, is planned by virtually all future operational satellite missions. Operational satellite agencies intending to use lunar calibration include NOAA (GOES-R ABI), USGS (LDCM OLI), NASA (NPP-VIIRS and JPSS), EUMETSAT (MTG FCI and EPS), and the Japanese, Chinese, and Indian meteorological agencies.  This calibration has proven absolutely essential for cross-calibrating data collected by different instruments over the decades, allowing climate and land use changes to be accurately monitored over multiple decades.