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Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO)

Context:

NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) recently captured the image of India’s Chandrayaan-3 lander.

Relevance:

Facts for Prelims

About the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO):

  • Launch Date: Launched by NASA on June 18, 2009.
  • Primary Objective: The primary mission objective is to create a comprehensive 3D map of the Moon’s surface while orbiting in a lunar polar orbit.
  • Scientific Exploration: LRO is not only dedicated to mapping but also conducts scientific research on the Moon’s geology, mineralogy, and environment.
  • Orbit: The spacecraft follows an eccentric polar mapping orbit around the Moon.
  • Instruments: LRO is equipped with seven science instruments. Notably, it features a powerful 195-millimeter (7.7-inch) telescope and camera system capable of capturing details as small as 2.5 meters across. It also carries a laser altimeter for generating 3D maps through laser reflections. Additionally, it possesses instruments specialized for exploring dark craters to search for water ice and a temperature instrument that led to the discovery of the coldest spot in the entire solar system.

-Source: Indian Express


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