Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) Releases New Image of the Moon's South Pole

This image was taken by Lunar Orbiter IV in May 1967 and shows the south pole of the Moon. Figure 1 shows the region without labels. Figure 2 shows major features plus notation regarding processing artifacts from the spacecraft's film processing system. The moon's south pole is located near the rim of Shackleton Crater.

Adjacent to the south pole is Shoemaker crater named in honor of famed planetary geologist Eugene Shoemaker. The Lunar Prospector spacecraft, carrying some of Shoemaker's ashes, was deliberately crashed in this crater in an attempt to see if any water ice would be thrown up by the impact.

The Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) will be targeted to impact at the south pole of the moon. As such, the moon's polar regions are of great interest right now.

Figure 1 South Pole of the moon as seen by Lunar Orbiter IV (larger image)

Figure 2 South Pole of the moon as seen by Lunar Orbiter IV with prominent features and processing artifacts identified (larger image)

This image has been recovered in its original high resolution format from original Lunar Orbiter project data tapes using restored tape drive hardware and will eventually be submitted to the PDS (Planetary Data System).

LOIRP Note: We will be putting the full resolution version of this image on the NASA Lunar Science Institute website with the layers preserved for Photoshop for all you folks to have fun with! We only ask that you send us copies of what you do and credit us if you publish it anywhere.

For more information on the Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) visit http://www.moonviews.com

For information on NASA's Lunar Science Institute visit http://lunarscience.arc.nasa.gov/

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