The USGS lunar calibration program provides radiometric calibration and
sensor stability monitoring for space-based remote sensing instruments using
the Moon as a reference source. This is a unique on-orbit calibration
technique for solar reflectance wavelengths that requires no special flight
hardware, only that the instrument must view the Moon. The unmatched
stability of the lunar surface reflectance (better than one part in
108 per year) makes the Moon attractive as a calibration light
source; its radiance can be known with high precision and accuracy. The lunar
irradiance is similar in brightness to sunlit land masses on the Earth.
Icarus 130, 323-327, (1997)
Currently the USGS lunar calibration program is funded by NASA for use with the EOS suite of instruments, although other instruments can and have been accommodated through special agreement with NASA. However, the lunar calibration technique is applicable to all solar band sensors that view the Moon. On-orbit sensor response trending with sub-percent per year precision has been achieved using this technique. Lunar calibration has the capability to meet satellite instrument long-term stability requirements for measuring climate change (NISTIR 7047 (PDF, 3.9mb)).
U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey | U.S.G.S. Astrogeology
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