First-ever 3D topographic map of Moon

Using a NASA camera, scientists have created the highest-resolution ‘topographic’ map of the Moon.

London: Using a NASA camera, scientists have created the highest-resolution ‘topographic’ map of the moon ever made - a map showing the heights (and depths) of the moon’s mountains and craters in greater detail than ever before.

The map was created using a mixture of overlapping photography - creating a ‘3D’ effect - and a laser scanner.

Due to instrumental limitations of previous missions, a global map of the moon’s topography at high resolution has not existed until now.

With the NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) Wide Angle Camera and the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) instrument, scientists can now accurately portray the shape of the entire moon at high resolution.

“Our new topographic view of the moon provides the dataset that lunar scientists have waited for since the Apollo era,” the Daily Mail quoted Mark Robinson, Principal Investigator of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) from Arizona State University in Tempe, as saying.

“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,” he added.

Called the Global Lunar DTM 100 m topographic model (GLD100), this map was created based on data acquired by LRO’s WAC, which is part of the LROC imaging system.

The LROC imaging system consists of two Narrow Angle Cameras (NACs) to provide high-resolution images, and the WAC to provide 100-meter resolution images in seven color bands over a 57-kilometer (35-mile) swath.