October 2013 Archives

Via Planetary Exploration Newsletter: As part of its work on a NASA-funded Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package (ALSEP) data recovery project, the Lunar and Planetary Institute has scanned a collection of ALSEP-related documents. This archive focuses on the development, deployment, and operation of the ALSEP experiments and currently includes 210 documents with more than 17,700 pages of material.

These documents include ALSEP Systems Handbooks for several of the ALSEP arrays, ALSEP Data Processing Procedures, the ALSEP Archive Tape Description Document, and daily status reports for the ALSEP network from initial deployment in 1969 to termination in 1977. The documents can be searched based on key words selected by the user. This material is available as part of our Lunar Science and Exploration Portal at: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/lunar/ALSEP

Material on this website provides important background information about the ALSEP experiments that may be useful to individuals who are re-analyzing data obtained from the experiments. However, the archive does not include science results from these experiments. LPI intends to continue adding other ALSEP-related material to the website on an on-going basis.

LADEE Now Speaks With A Familiar Voice

Keith's note: This audio clip of the late Mike Wargo has been uploaded to LADEE. It was sent back to Earth from the Moon yesterday. Now, if anyone happens to visit the Moon and asks LADEE what it is doing there, Mike will let them know - from lunar orbit.

A Memorial Tribute for Mike Wargo will be held on October 17, 2013 from 11:00-noon with an informal reception to follow. The tribute will be held at the Cosmos Club, 2121 Massachusetts Avenue, Washington DC. Please note that the Cosmos Club requests that gentlemen wear a jacket and tie. Those who wish to give a gift in Mike's memory are encouraged to make a donation to MIT Michael J. Wargo for the Department of Materials Science Endowed Fellowship Fund. Contact Bonny Kellerman, bonnyk -at- mit.edu or at 617-253-9722

- Crater Wargo, earlier post
- NASA Lunar Exploration Analysis Group Statement on the Passing of Dr. Michael Wargo, earlier post
- Mike Wargo, earlier post

Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project Status Report 9 Oct 2013

Dennis Wingo: We have had some great visitors over the last couple of days. One group is Dave Martinez and Ana Huante from Dave Martinez Technologies. Great group of folks who are key evangelists and designers of the Google Glasses. Here is a picture of them visiting us yesterday! Click on image to enlarge.

Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project Status Report 8 Oct 2013

Dennis Wingo: Back at doing some clean up tape capture today. We had a tape that would not run before due to control track problems that ran fine today (G5-067). I am going to rerun G5-004 to see if the loss of signal about ten minutes into the tape is permanent. If it is, more than likely there is overlap with a Madrid tape on this one. I still need to give the images numbers on tapes 137-158 and will do that in a bit. Here is what came off of G5-067

G5-067, partial capture LOV-213M, complete capture 214H
G5-136, partial capture LOV-050M, complete capture 051H
G5-137, complete capture LOV-049M, 050H
G5-138, partial capture LOV-045M, complete capture 046H
G5-139, partial capture LOV-046M, complete capture 047H
G5-140, partial capture LOV-048M, complete capture 049H
G5-141, partial capture LOV-047M, complete capture 048H
G5-142, partial capture LOV-044M, 045H
G5-143, not captured, overlap with W5-151
G5-144, partial capture LOV-041M
G5-145, partial capture LOV-045H
G5-146, partial capture LOV-044M, 045H (duplicate with G5-142)
G5-147, partial capture LOV-045H

Break in the record for a second.

I just figured out what happened that had been confusing me before. It seems that the Lunar Orbiter flight team had backed up the film and rerecorded some images between G5-142 and G5-147! The numbers don't make any sense otherwise!

G5-147', partial capture LOV-028H (duplicate tape number but different image!!)
G5-148, partial capture LOV-026M, 025M, complete capture 027H
G5-149, partial capture LOV-025M (completes image), complete capture 026H
G5-150, not captured, overlap with W5-11
G5-151, partial capture LOV-024H (overlap with W5-008,W5-011)
G5-152, not captured, overlap with W5-009
G5-153, partial capture LOV-022H
G5-154, partial capture LOV-020, complete capture 021H (overlap with W5-006-007)
G5-155, partial captur eLOV-019M (overlap with G5-010-011)
G5-156, not captured, overlap with W5-162, G5-011)
G5-157, partial capture LOV-017M (overlap with W5-162, 163)
G5-158, complete capture LOV-017H, partial capture 015M

This completes the Lunar Orbiter V Goldstone captures.

I went back to re-record G5-004 and it has no signal after the first 41 frame lets, about 40 minutes of signal lost. Probably get the framelets on a Madrid tape.

High resolution imagery from the Lunar Orbiter program, forgotten for 46 years, has been retrieved from original data tapes.

The five Lunar Orbiter missions, flown between 1966 and 1967, were rather heavily documented. This extensive documentation has helped us at the Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) to locate images on the original analog data tapes and retrieve them at a resolution that was impossible in the 1960s.

While the Lunar Orbiter program was methodical in documenting everything, every now and then imagery slipped through the crack. Often times the misplaced images are unremarkable and incomplete. However, in this case, we have found complete high resolution imagery of a location close to the Apollo 15 landing site at Hadley Rille. The imagery we have uncovered is number 5105 taken by Lunar Orbiter V in 1967.

If you check the authoritative LPI Lunar Orbiter image database you will see that only a medium resolution version of image 5105 is online. Similarly the equally authoritative USGS only has this medium resolution image as well. High resolution images of 5105 are not online and do not appear in project documentation - except for databases that show all images that were sent back to Earth.

As such, it is safe to assume that no one has seen this high resolution imagery for over 46 years. Given that this imagery is absent from Lunar Orbiter image databases, it is probable that only a few people ever saw this imagery back when it was first received on Earth.

The medium resolution image was taken on 14 August 1967 at 12:41:02.83 UTC. The high resolution imagery was taken just before the medium resolution image at 12:41:02.71 UTC. Both images were taken from an altitude of 131.5 miles. The resolution of the raw imagery is 2.2 meters/pixel.

As you can see from the medium resolution image, the high resolution imagery was taken a short distance away from where the Apollo 15 astronauts conducted their lunar surface traverses in the summer of 1971 - almost exactly 4 years after this imagery was obtained.

Click on image to enlarge: note we will post the raw files at NLSI once the government shutdown is over and their servers come back online.

LADEE Is In Lunar Orbit

According to someone at NASA: "Early this morning (October 6), we fired LADEE's main engine in a braking maneuver known as the Lunar Orbit Insertion (LOI) burn. This slowed the spacecraft's velocity enough for it to be captured by the Moon's gravity. This critical burn went flawlessly and LADEE is now in lunar orbit! Two more main engine burns, on October 9 and 12 will adjust LADEE's trajectory, settling it into its commissioning orbit."

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