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Moon NASA Science

High Resolution Global Topographic Map of Moon 68

stuckinarut writes "NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has released the highest resolution near-global topographic map of the moon ever created. From the article: '"Our new topographic view of the moon provides the dataset that lunar scientists have waited for since the Apollo era," says Mark Robinson, Principal Investigator of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera from Arizona State University in Tempe. "We can now determine slopes of all major geologic terrains on the moon at 100 meter scale. Determine how the crust has deformed, better understand impact crater mechanics, investigate the nature of volcanic features, and better plan future robotic and human missions to the moon."'"
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High Resolution Global Topographic Map of Moon

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  • merde... sacre bleu... I guess now the footprints from 1969 and other goodies are visible in HD? what about Transformers vessel(s)? Anyone have spotted anything?
  • Can't wait for the next round of alien moon bases to hit the tubes.
  • This only reinforces my suspicion that the moon is indeed made of cheese.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      This only reinforces my suspicion that the moon is indeed made of cheese.

      And very, very old cheese by the looks of it. No wonder the moonmice died out.

    • I sure as hell hope we don't piss off whoever has been using it for target practice.

    • Re:Cheese (Score:4, Interesting)

      by camperdave ( 969942 ) on Friday November 18, 2011 @09:52AM (#38097400) Journal
      Speaking of cheese, is this map data going to be available on Google Moon? []

      I miss the days when the Google maps folk had a sense of humour.
      • There is a sense of Humor on Google Moon? Please link, I have somehow missed the jokes.

        • It used to be that if you zoomed in far enough, they would show cheese. Similarly, when when you asked for directions from New York, USA to Paris, France, they told you to go to a particular pier, and swim across the Atlantic ocean. I guess too many people were drowning, and bringing their pet mice to NASA.
  • It amazes me that so many allegedly "educated" people have fallen so quickly and so hard for a fraudulent fabrication of such laughable proportions. The very idea that a gigantic ball of rock happens to orbit our planet, showing itself in neat, four-week cycles -- with the same side facing us all the time -- is ludicrous. Furthermore, it is an insult to common sense and a damnable affront to intellectual honesty and integrity. That people actually believe it is evidence that the liberals have wrested the last vestiges of control of our public school system from decent, God-fearing Americans (as if any further evidence was needed! Daddy's Roommate? God Almighty!)

    Documentaries such as Enemy of the State have accurately portrayed the elaborate, byzantine network of surveillance satellites that the liberals have sent into space to spy on law-abiding Americans. Equipped with technology developed by Handgun Control, Inc., these satellites have the ability to detect firearms from hundreds of kilometers up. That's right, neighbors .. the next time you're out in the backyard exercising your Second Amendment rights, the liberals will see it! These satellites are sensitive enough to tell the difference between a Colt .45 and a .38 Special! And when they detect you with a firearm, their computers cross-reference the address to figure out your name, and then an enormous database housed at Berkeley is updated with information about you.

    Of course, this all works fine during the day, but what about at night? Even the liberals can't control the rotation of the Earth to prevent nightfall from setting in (only Joshua was able to ask for that particular favor!) That's where the "moon" comes in. Powered by nuclear reactors, the "moon" is nothing more than an enormous balloon, emitting trillions of candlepower of gun-revealing light. Piloted by key members of the liberal community, the "moon" is strategically moved across the country, pointing out those who dare to make use of their God-given rights at night!

    Yes, I know this probably sounds paranoid and preposterous, but consider this. Despite what the revisionist historians tell you, there is no mention of the "moon" anywhere in literature or historical documents -- anywhere -- before 1950. That is when it was initially launched. When President Josef Kennedy, at the State of the Union address, proclaimed "We choose to go to the moon", he may as well have said "We choose to go to the weather balloon." The subsequent faking of a "moon" landing on national TV was the first step in a long history of the erosion of our constitutional rights by leftists in this country. No longer can we hide from our government when the sun goes down.

    • by Sockatume ( 732728 ) on Friday November 18, 2011 @09:22AM (#38097152)

      Moon comes out, conspiracy jokes come in. Never a miscommunication.

    • Ha! As YU55 passed between the earth and moon I pulled out my gun and shot my neighbor's lolcat. Take that evil liberal spy scumz!
    • Enemy of the State was a very scary movie, and that's why I no longer communicate electronically, even using a pseudonym.
    • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) *

      I'm going to poop on your party here... yes, I got the joke, but

      From The Rime of the Acient Mariner
      The moving Moon went up the sky.
      And nowhere did abide;
      Softly she was going up,
      And a star or two beside-

      By Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)

      Art thou pale for weariness
      Of climbing heaven and gazing on the earth,
      Wandering companionless
      Among the stars that have a diff

      • by Opyros ( 1153335 )
        Ah, but you've overlooked this stanza from the Coleridge:

        We listen'd and look'd sideways up!
        Fear at my heart, as at a cup,
        My life-blood seem'd to sip!
        The stars were dim, and thick the night,
        The steersman's face by his lamp gleam'd white;
        From the sails the dew did drip—
        At the rising of the Moon,
        Till clomb above the eastern bar
        The hornèd Moon, with one bright star
        Within the nether tip.

        Since this is astronomically impossible, Coleridge could not possibly have been familiar with

      • by Rary ( 566291 )

        Ahh, but you missed the important qualification that GP made when he said "(d)espite what the revisionist historians tell you".

        I ask you, have you ever seen the original handwritten version of Rime of the Ancient Mariner? No? Then how do you know the liberal revisionists didn't add that line? And have you seen Shelley's original poem, or just a copy from a textbook produced by some liberal publishing company?

        And here's the big question: how do you know your parents and grandparents aren't part of the conspi

      • by Narnie ( 1349029 )

        Clearly the liberals sent the moon back in time after creating it. JFK meant it was time to send techs to the moon and start up the spy circuits. It took 6 landings to fire everything up and fix all the broken hardware. Since then it has only had software upgrades. That's why Obama wants to go back to the moon, to provided it with much needed hardware upgrades.

    • Are you saying..."That's no moon"?
    • That, sir, is lunacy!
    • So this weather balloon killed Kennedy? Makes more sense than most of the conspiracy theories I've heard so far...
  • Everyone knows that the moon was a false flag operation by the Soviets, performed on a sound stage in Texas in 1902 using a script by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

  • Are they sure it's a moon?
  • Dah dah dedah dah dedah dah dedadaaaahhhhh!

  • by david.given ( 6740 ) <dg@cowl a r k . c om> on Friday November 18, 2011 @10:37AM (#38097896) Homepage Journal

    I have a slow-going project to render the moon using Povray []. Except, because I'm awkward, I've terraformed it. There are some very slightly better (but still very poor) videos here [] and here [].

    I'm using a monster dataset from the Kaguya spaceprobe for the terrain data, which, at maximum resolution, ends up as a 270MB 16-bit greyscale PNG file. Even so, it's only about 4 pixels per degree and, as you can tell from the videos above, the terrain is way too smooth to be interesting. I've experimented with adding algorithmic complexity with some pretty good results, and need to render the videos, but it's cripplingly slow and is, of course, cheating. [*]

    So a higher-resolution dataset is great news for me. Now I just need to figure out how to get a global DEM at the highest possible resolution, which is not easy (I can see DEMs at 64 pixels/degree, but the 256 pixels/degree data appears to be available only in tiles with odd projections).

    [*] Also, procedural code in Povray is very slow. I have been looking into rewriting the whole thing in Renderman but my model is too pathologically weird for most Renderman implementations --- I'm viewing a very, very large sphere with huge displacement shaders from very, very close up, and the open source Rendermans I've tried so far just curl up and die. Any suggestions gratefully appreciated.

    • That's fascinating, I have a hard time grasping how much relief the moon has compared to the Earth (not that I have a very strong grasp of that either...) and putting water on it makes it more directly comparable. What sort of depth are you using for the oceans?

      • 2000m below 'Lunar standard sea level', i.e. what people generally consider to be altitude 0, which is a sphere 1737.4 km in radius. Take a look at the settings [] if you're interested. (I think it's all up-to-date in hg.) 2000m was picked arbitrarily to give a decent balance of land and sea.

        However, the moon is actually hideously lopsided, due to tidal effects caused by Earth; the near side is noticeably bigger than the far side. This makes the lunar gravitational field uneven. Therefore the surface at whi

  • The larger version of the map has a scale measuring elevation. How do they measure elevation if there's no sea level on the moon?

  • I guess Ralph followed through.
  • China thanx USA for showing them where to land.
  • Wake me up when they have a 3D flash.. err HTML5 model of the moon.
  • Topographic maps have curves that connect equal elevations. This is an elevation heat map.
    • Topographic maps have curves that connect equal elevations. This is an elevation heat map.

      You describe an isocontour elevation map, which is one type of topographic map. An elevation heat map is another, and a third might be a shaded relief map. Topographic map just means a map that represents the topography, it doesn't actually denote a specific method for representing the topography (albeit isocontour maps are generally the standard, and what people generally think of when when looking for a topo map).

  • So where is the Tycho Magnetic Anomaly or other von Neumann probes?
  • by Hadlock ( 143607 ) on Friday November 18, 2011 @02:31PM (#38101130) Homepage Journal

    I remember years and years ago (mid-1990s) when someone invented a fancy algorithm to take old data (photographs + the orbit & direction they were taken from) from the moon, venus and even mars and convert them in to three-dimensional maps you could fly through with a limited degree of accuracy. I would love to look at similar terrain on the moon in Google Earth finally.

  • 100 meter accuracy isn't amazing.

    With lidar reconnaissance from airplanes our cities are mapped to sub meter accuracy. Given that the moon has no atmosphere orbiting the moon at airplane elevations should be easy. After that it's a matter of enough orbits, and enough data transmission.

    Add to this side scan radar, and you can add a texture map.

    I would expect that a 1 meter map of the moon would be cheap.

    One of the shuttle missions did a 90 meter SAR map of most of the earth in, I think 9 days. The data qu

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