Lunar Orbiter Photographic Atlas of the Near Side of the Moon

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Thermal control was maintained by a multilayer aluminized Mylar and Dacron thermal blanket which enshrouded the main bus, special paint, insulation, and small heaters. The camera used two lenses to simultaneously expose a wide-angle and a high-resolution image on the same film. The photographic film was developed in-orbit with a semidry process, and then it was scanned by a photomultiplier for transmission to Earth. Some proposals were made that NASA not publish the orbital parameters of the Lunar Orbiter probes so that the resolution of the images could not be calculated through their altitude.

In the end, NASA's existing camera systems, while lower resolution, proved to be adequate for the needs of the mission. Altogether the Orbiters returned high resolution and medium resolution frames. The micrometeoroid experiments recorded 22 impacts showing the average micrometeoroid flux near the Moon was about two orders of magnitude greater than in interplanetary space, but slightly less than in the near-Earth environment.

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The radiation experiments confirmed that the design of Apollo hardware would protect the astronauts from average and greater than average short term exposure to solar particle events. The use of Lunar Orbiters for tracking to evaluate the Manned Space Flight Network tracking stations and Apollo Orbit Determination Program was successful, with three of the Lunar Orbiters 2, 3, and 5 being tracked simultaneously from August through October The Lunar Orbiters were all eventually commanded to crash on the Moon before their attitude control fuel ran out so they would not present navigational or communications hazards to later Apollo flights.


  • USGS Astrogeology: Lunar Orbiter Digitization Project!
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Doppler tracking of the five orbiters allowed mapping of the gravitational field of the Moon and discovery of mass concentrations mascons , or gravitational highs, which were located in the centers of some but not all of the lunar maria. Below is the flight log information of the five Lunar Orbiter photographic missions: [7].

The Lunar Orbiter orbital photographs were transmitted to Earth as analog data after onboard scanning of the original film into a series of strips.

The data were written to magnetic tape and also to film. The film data were used to create hand-made mosaics of Lunar Orbiter frames. Each LO exposure resulted in two photographs: medium-resolution frames recorded by the mm focal-length lens and high-resolution frames recorded by the mm focal length lens.

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Due to their large size, HR frames were divided into three sections, or sub-frames. The resulting outstanding views were of generally very high spatial resolution and covered a substantial portion of the lunar surface, but they suffered from a "venetian blind" striping, missing or duplicated data, and frequent saturation effects that hampered their use.

For many years these images have been the basis of much of lunar scientific research. Because they were obtained at low to moderate Sun angles, the Lunar Orbiter photographic mosaics are particularly useful for studying the morphology of lunar topographic features.


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Several atlases and books featuring Lunar Orbiter photographs have been published. Perhaps the most definitive was that of Bowker and Hughes ; it contained photographic plates with approximately global coverage of the Moon. In part because of high interest in the data and in part because that atlas is out of print, the task was undertaken at the Lunar and Planetary Institute to scan the large-format prints of Lunar Orbiter data.

Lunar Maps

The frames were constructed from scanned film strips; they were digitally constructed, geometrically controlled, and map-projected without the stripes that had been noticeable in the original photographic frames. In addition, the USGS digitization project created frames from very high resolution Lunar Orbiter images for several 'sites of scientific interest.

Frames for sites such as the Apollo 12 landing site, the Marius Hills, and the Sulpicius Gallus rille have been released. In , the Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project LOIRP began a process to convert the Lunar Orbiter Images directly from the original Ampex FR analog video recordings of the spacecraft data to digital image format, a change which provided vastly improved resolution over the original images released in the s.

The first of these restored images were released in late The above links lead to a whole book on the Lunar Orbiter program. For the HTML one, scroll down to see the table of contents link. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The first image of Earth taken from the Moon.

The Lunar Orbiter: A Spacecraft to Advance Lunar Exploration

Lunar Orbiter V. August 8, Retrieved Clearly visible on the left side of the globe is the eastern half of Africa and the entire Arabian peninsula. April Muller, W. Sjogren Bibcode : Sci Guide to Lunar Orbiter Photographs. Gillis, Paul D. Gaddis, T. Sucharski, T.

Becker, and A. Becker, L. Weller, L. Gaddis, D.

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Lunar Orbiter photographic atlas of the near side of the moon. | Awards & Grants

Cook, B. Archinal, M. Rosiek, C. Isbell, T. Hare, R. The far side of the Moon, also called the "dark side of the Moon" was unknown to humanity until the Luna and Lunar Orbiter pictures were returned to Earth. This wonderful book contains beautiful photographs and newly-assembled mosaic images of the far side of the Moon, cleaned of transmission, imaging stripes and processing artifacts by today's computer technology.

Byrne's superb analysis documents the appearance of the features of the far side with beautiful pictures from Lunar Orbiter. Until now, the far side Lunar Orbiter photos have only been available with strong reconstruction lines, but appear here for the first time as complete photographs, unmarred by imaging and processing artifacts. The far side of the moon : Description. Full description Saved in:. Photographs from space. It provides comprehensive coverage of the far side of the Moon, and is the first book that collects photographs from all five Lunar Orbiter missions: Clementine, Apollo, Luna, Zond, and Nozomi.

As in the previous book, the scanning artifacts of the Lunar Orbiter photos have been cleaned.