Student Project: New Lunar Crater Search Using LROC-NAC Vs LOIRP Lunar Orbiter Images

N. G. Moss1 and T. M. Harper2, M. B. Motta3, A. Epps4
1LOIRP Project P.O. Box 375 Moffett Field, CA 94035,, 2 LOIRP Project P.O. Box 375 Moffett Field, CA 94035, 3 LOIRP Project P.O. Box 375 Moffett Field, CA 94035., 4Skycorp, Building 596, NASA Ames Research Park, Moffett Field, CA 94035,

Submitted to 41st Lunar and Planetary Science Conference:

Introduction: In 1966 and 1967 NASA sent five Lunar Orbiters to photograph nearly the full surface of the moon. Each orbiter launched took images of different areas of the moons surface, or very high resolution images corresponding to lower resolution images previously taken. Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) is one of the several projects using these images for research. We are in possession of 1,478 2" original analog tapes from 3 Deep Space Network ground stations. We have taken hundreds of those analog tapes and converted them to digital form; with the majority of them being from Lunar Orbiter II which took images with .8 to 1 meter resolution.

With them in digital form we are able to assemble the framelets in high quality and overlay them with Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Narrow Angle Camera (LROC_NAC), which has a similar resolution of .5 to 1 meter. The overlays enable us to compare the two images looking for change, specifically new craters. The finding of new craters will help us determine the age of older craters by looking at the baseline color of the regolith from known dates between the Lunar Orbiter and LROC images. The craters found per unit area will also provide a boundary on the current small body population of the inner solar system.

Full paper

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