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A New Member of the LOIRP Team

Dennis Wingo: I would like to introduce everyone to the newest member of our LOIRP team, Marcos Colleluori. Marcos is a graduate student at San Jose State and is doing the work to cross reference our images to the LROC NAC images for the important science of crater and other difference detection between the 1960's and now.

High School Team Tackles Lunar Mystery

Members of the 2011-12 Lunar Exploration Team: L-R Abby Delawder, Tori Wilson, and Austen Beason

When the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter relayed images in 2011 of oddly striped boulders on the moon - some of them a dozen or more meters across - three students at Kickapoo High School in Springfield, Missouri, in search of a class science project decided to investigate. They joined a 2-semester research program through the SSERVI's Center for Lunar Science and Exploration in Houston, Texas.

With mentor Georgiana Kramer, a planetary scientist there, the team has now netted a scientific paper. The Kickapoo Lunar Research Team spent several months trying to explain the stripes. Researchers had already floated several possibilities.

Kramer suspected that the light-colored layers were probably regolith, material blasted from impact craters elsewhere on the moon. But the students found that such debris accumulates much too slowly to account for the banding. Through their calculations, they arrived at a new explanation: The striping formed as molten material cooled deep within the moon's crust. "I was surprised at the answer they came up with," Kramer says. But the team has support for the theory: Some banded rocks on Earth form by a similar process, says team member Abby Delawder. "These banded rocks are nothing like any other rocks found on the moon's surface," she notes. "It's clear they were blasted upward by an impact."

Unlike the average high school project, this one appeared among graduate student posters at NASA's annual Lunar Science Institute Forum in Mountain View, California, in 2012 and will be published in a forthcoming issue of the journal Icarus.

Posted by: Soderman/SSERVI Staff Source: SSERVI Team/ Ref: SCIENCE, VOL 342, DECEMBER 6 2013

NASA Ames Academy Students Visit LOIRP

Dennis Wingo: NASA Ames Academy students and their parents visited the LOIRP in Bldg 596 (McMoons) at NASA Ames Research Park last week. Larger image.

Earthrise by MoonKAM

Image: GRAIL's MoonKAM Looks Homeward Toward Earth

"This image of the far side of the lunar surface, with Earth in the background, was taken by the MoonKAM system onboard the Ebb spacecraft as part of the first image set taken from lunar orbit from March 15 - 18, 2012. A little more than half-way up and on the left side of the image is the crater De Forest. Due to its proximity to the southern pole, DeForest receives sunlight at an oblique angle when it is on the illuminated half of the Moon."

LPI Lunar Exploration Summer Intern Program

LPI Lunar Exploration Summer Intern Program

"To help integrate those science priorities with NASA's exploration program, the Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) is hosting a special summer intern program to evaluate possible landing sites for robotic and human exploration missions. Two teams of students will work with LPI science staff and other collaborators to evaluate the best landing sites to address each of the NRC’s science priorities.  This will be a unique team activity that should foster extensive discussions among students and senior science team members. This Lunar Exploration Summer Intern Program will operate parallel with LPI’s regular summer intern program."

"Innovate Our World, a Maryland educational nonprofit, has partnered with a leading Google Lunar X prize competitor, Astrobotic Technology of Pittsburgh, PA, to help student teams from two central Maryland high schools design payload concepts suitable for Astrobotic's planned 2013 Tranquility Trek mission to the Apollo 11 landing site. Using information about the lunar environment, previous missions to the Moon, basics of conceptual payload design, and local experts, students from Glenelg Country School in Ellicott City, Maryland and Oakland Mills High School in Columbia, Maryland proposed and designed two lunar payloads and will present their concepts to Astrobotic Technology on Saturday, May 21, 2011 at 1 p.m." More

Click on image for PDF version of poster

Poster presented at the 42nd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference by N. G. Moss, T. M. Harper, M. B. Motta, A. D. Epps

"While some candidate craters were observed that appeared in LROC data but not in Lunar Orbiter data, these were all very near the edge of discernable feature size and are almost certainly explained by various differences between the images (e.g. sun angle or viewing geometry). While our initial search did not find any discernable new cratering, we have shown that data from the original analog Lunar Orbiter tapes, as recovered by the Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery project, possesses the characteristics necessary to discern new craters at reasonably small sizes. If the entire Lunar Orbiter data set was recovered in this manner it may be possible for future researchers to apply automated methods to detect changes with much better chances of success."

Figure 1: Lunar Orbiter II sub-frame 2070H2 superimposed on LROC NAC image M116154252LE.

N. G. Moss1 and T. M. Harper2, M. B. Motta3, A. Epps4
1LOIRP Project P.O. Box 375 Moffett Field, CA 94035,, 2 LOIRP Project P.O. Box 375 Moffett Field, CA 94035, 3 LOIRP Project P.O. Box 375 Moffett Field, CA 94035., 4Skycorp, Building 596, NASA Ames Research Park, Moffett Field, CA 94035,

Submitted to 42nd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference.

Introduction: In 1966 and 1967 NASA sent five Lunar Orbiters to photograph nearly the full surface of the moon. Each orbiter launched took images of different areas of the moons surface, or very high resolution images corresponding to lower resolution images previously taken. Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) is one of the several projects using these images for research. We are in possession of 1,478 2" original analog tapes from 3 Deep Space Network ground stations. We have taken hundreds of those analog tapes and converted them to digital form; with the majority of them being from Lunar Orbiter II which took images with .8 to 1 meter resolution.

Seventh Graders Find a Cave on Mars

NASA: California middle school students using the camera on NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter have found lava tubes with one pit that appears to be a skylight to a cave. The students in science teacher Dennis Mitchell's class at Evergreen Middle School in Cottonwood, Calif., were examining Martian lava tubes as their project in the Mars Student Imaging Program offered by NASA and Arizona State University. Students in this program develop a geological question, then target a Mars-orbiting camera to take an image that helps answer the question. Mars Odyssey has been orbiting the Red Planet since 2001, returning data and images of the Martian surface and providing relay communications service for the twin Mars rovers, Spirit and Opportunity. See full story

Austin Epps, LOIRP Student Employee

Austin Epps, our ever vigilant (and creative) student LOIRP employee, sitting admist our all-Mac operation, downloading 40 year old Lunar Orbiter images. Click on image to enlarge.

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Moonrush: Improving Life on Earth with the Moon's Resources
Moonrush: Improving Life on Earth with the Moon's Resources

The Kaguya Lunar Atlas: The Moon in High Resolution
The Kaguya Lunar Atlas: The Moon in High Resolution

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