Status Report

Stardust Image of the Moon 17 Jan 2001

By SpaceRef Editor
January 17, 2001
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JPEG Image – 107 K
TIF Image – 308 K

The NASA Discovery STARDUST spacecraft successfully flew by the Earth on
Monday 15 January to use the Earth’s gravity to change its orbit
relative to the Sun, enabling the spacecraft to go further from the Sun
and intercept the comet Wild 2 in 2004. Seventeen hours after Earth
flyby, the spacecraft flew over the moon at a distance of about 108,000
km and took 23 images to be used to perform photometric and geometric
calibrations of the camera. One of these images is shown that was
taken on 16 January 2001 04:01:06 UT (15 January 2001 20:01:06 PST).
The image was taken through a narrow band blue filter centered at 513.2
nm with a 12 nm Full Width Half Maximum (FWHM) and using a 45 ms

This lunar image is basically a “raw” image with contrast enhancement
applied to help show surface features. The “halo” around the moon is
an artifact from contamination that is still on the camera optics and
mirror, scattering light. Much of the contamination has been removed
over the last few months by heating the camera; however there is still
a residual coating that may be addressed in the future with additional
camera heating.

The spacecraft was near the north pole of the moon at a latitude of 81
deg and a longitude of 118 deg west. The direction to the Earth is
toward the right and the direction to the Sun, in the lunar equator and
at a longitude of 78 deg west, is toward the bottom of the image. The
lunar mare on the Earth facing side is seen dominating the right half
of the image with the bright crater Aristarchus in Oceanus Procellarum
near the limb.

Stardust, a part of NASA’s Discovery Program of low-cost, highly
focused science missions, is managed by the Jet Propulsion
Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, CA, for NASA’s Office of Space Science,
Washington, D.C. JPL is a division of the California Institute of
Technology, Pasadena. More information on the Stardust mission is
available at:

SpaceRef staff editor.