Feeds

First-ever pics of lunar polar crater interiors released

Indian probe snaps hidden Moon-bottom rim shots

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Pic A NASA radar instrument aboard India's Chandrayaan-1 Moon orbiter has sent back the first ever images of hidden crater interiors at the lunar poles. Space boffins hope to use such pictures to discover deposits of water ice, which could be invaluable for future Moonbase astronauts.

NASA overlay of Mini-SAR imagery from Chandrayaan-1 onto Arecibo radar telescope pic of the lunar south pole

At last, a good view of the Moon's bottom.

"This is an exciting first step for the team which has worked diligently for more than three years to get to this point," said Benjamin Bussey of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. Bussey is number two boffin on the Mini-SAR lunar orbiter radar team. (SAR for synthetic aperture radar; the kit is also known as Mini-RF.)

The big craters at the Moon's north and south poles are side-on when viewed from Earth, which means that their rim walls mask the interiors. Thus the only way to get a proper look inside is from a spacecraft in lunar orbit, such as India's Chandrayaan-1.

This is the purpose of NASA's Mini-SAR package, built by the US Naval Air Warfare Center and other contributors. The Mini-SAR has just been started up, and has now sent back radar pics showing part of the Haworth crater at the moon's south pole and the western rim of Seares crater at the north pole.

NASA has released a SAR image overlaid on a radar picture from the Arecibo radar telescope on Earth (see pic). The light patches on the orbiter overlay represent "either surface roughness or slopes pointing toward the spacecraft", according to NASA.

Scientists believe that tying in Mini-SAR radar mapping with spectrography from the Moon Mineralogy Mapper - also aboard Chandrayaan-1 - will find anything of value on the Earth's satellite if it is there to be found.

There's more from NASA about the Mini-SAR here, and from the Indian space agency about Chandrayaan-1 here. ®

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
World Solar Challenge contender claims new speed record
One charge sees Sunswift travel 500kms at over 100 km/h
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
Jurassic squawk: Dinos were Earth's early FEATHERED friends
Boffins research: Ancient dinos may all have had 'potential' fluff
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.