NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) Mission is producing high resolution global maps of the Moon and is also looking for sources of water-ice that might be found in permanently shadowed polar craters. Water-ice could be important for future exploration of the Moon. USGS scientists Dr. Lisa Gaddis, Dr. Brent Archinal, and Dr. Laz Kestay are participating scientists on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) team, and Dr. Larry Soderblom is a member of the DIVINER Lunar Radiometer Experiment team. Dr. Randolph Kirk is involved with the Mini-RF instrument, which is able to see into the permanently shadowed craters on the Moon and produces RADAR maps with a resolution of up to 7.5 meters/pixel. Several Astrogeology Science Center programming staff support the LRO data processing pipeline.
The Lunar Mapping and Modeling Project (LMMP) manages a set of products (for example, image mosaics, digital elevation models (DEMs), hazard assessment maps, slope maps and gravity maps) that support lunar research, exploration, and outreach activities. The LMMP uses data mainly from the LRO mission, although it also uses historical and international data such as Apollo, Kaguya, and Lunar Orbiter. Under the direction of USGS Geodesist Brent Archinal, the Astrogeology Science Center produced 23 DEMs, 23 site mosaics, and controlled mosaics of the north and south pole of the Moon for this project.