Friday, November 18, 2011

WAC's topographical moon map


Global topography -- a boon to lunar scientists and explorers around the world! Today the LROC team releases Version 1 of the Wide Angle Camera (WAC) topographic map of the Moon. This amazing map shows you the ups and downs over nearly the entire Moon, at a scale of 100 meters across the surface, and 20 meters or better vertically. Despite the diminutive size of the WAC (it fits in the palm of one's hand), it images nearly the entire Moon every month. Every month? Yes! Redundant data? No! Each month the Moon's lighting changes, so the WAC methodically builds up a record of how different rocks reflect light under different conditions, and adds to the LROC library of stereo observations. The WAC really is the little camera that could! It was built by Malin Space Science Systems (MSSS) in San Diego CA, and is very similar to another MSSS camera (MARCI) that is now in orbit around Mars.

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