Washington: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) has been declared a grand success by NASA, delivering more than promised and giving us a more comprehensive view of the moon than ever before.
This rich new portrait has been rendered by LRO`s seven onboard instruments, which together have delivered more than 192 terabytes of data, images and maps -- the equivalent of nearly 41,000 typical DVDs.
"This is a tremendous accomplishment," said Douglas Cooke, Associate Administrator of the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters, Washington.
"The exploration phase of the mission delivered a lot more than it originally promised, and that`s been just the beginning for LRO."
The primary objective of the mission was to enable safe and effective exploration of the moon. "To do so, we needed to leverage the very best that the science community had to offer," said Michael Wargo, chief lunar scientist of the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters, Washington.
"And by doing that, we`ve fundamentally changed our scientific understanding of the moon."
Though earlier missions also imaged the moon, what sets LROC apart is its ability to image with surface pixels that are only 1.5 feet in size, small enough to distinguish details never before possible.
"With this resolution, LRO could easily spot a picnic table on the moon," says LRO`s Project Scientist, Richard Vondrak of NASA Goddard.