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Creation of high-resolution, LOLA-referenced 3D-models and maps of the Apollo and future landing sites

Apollo 17: LROC NAC DTM and LOLA ground tracks.

In June 2009 the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) was launched by NASA to prepare for future robotic and human missions. LRO's objectives are to globally map the Moon, to identify potential resources, and to characterize the radiation environment. The research staff of the department of Planetary Geodesy of the TU Berlin is participating in the scientific analysis of the LOLA laser altimeter and the LROC image data.

To improve LOLA's relative accuracy a co-registration program was developed within this study, which significantly minimizes the influence of LRO's positional errors on derived LOLA ground tracks. Similar to the so-called crossover method, here, the individual LOLA tracks are registered to each other in an iterative process. Large-area and adjusted Digital Terrain Models (DTMs) (20 m/pixel) of the lunar poles are generated and used to create roughness-, slope- and illumination maps to facilitate landing site selection.

High-resolution 0.5 m/pixel images of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Narrow Angle Camera (LROC NAC) are photogrammetrically processed to derive DTMs (2 m/pixel). Modified software, which was developed at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) for Mars Expres HRSC applications, is used for data processing. To improve the accuracy of the DTMs photogrammetric block adjustments are implemented and evaluated within this study. By integrating (co-registered) LOLA ground tracks to the bundle adjustment and by the combined analysis of image and laser altimeter data not only the DTMs' absolute positional accuracy will be enhanced, but it will also improve our knowledge of LRO's trajectory and its pointing.

By means of the generated LROC NAC DTMs, LROC NAC images are rectified and used to create ortho-image maps. Because of their significance in planetary science the landing sites of past missions are cartographically analysed and mapped to document and to allow re-evaluation of the scientific activities of the Apollo astronauts using state-of-the-art methods. For this, we apply geodetic methods, which tie historic (Hasselblad-) astronaut images to recent LROC ortho-images.

The research project LRO Geodesy is funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (FKZ 50OW1901). Previous projects:
FKZ 50OW1702
FKZ 50OW1503
FKZ 50OW1202
FKZ 50OW0902

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Contact Person

Prof. Jürgen Oberst
+49 30 314 79701
Room 2219

Logo des Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera Teams