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Earth’s natural satellite is currently under observation by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (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 where ice may be found.  Controlled mosaics of the optical and radar images produced by Astrogeology are setting records as the largest products of these types in the history of lunar exploration. Astrogeology scientists are 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. Several “new” or previously unrecognized small lunar volcanoes have been identified recently, suggesting that these kinds of eruptions were much more common on the Moon than believed earlier.

Author Name
Randolph Kirk
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