Feeds

First-ever pics of lunar polar crater interiors released

Indian probe snaps hidden Moon-bottom rim shots

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
Volcanic eruption in Iceland triggers CODE RED aviation warning
Lava-spitting Bárðarbunga prompts action from Met Office
NASA to reformat Opportunity rover's memory from 125 million miles away
Interplanetary admins will back up data and get to work
Major cyber attack hits Norwegian oil industry
Statoil, the gas giant behind the Scandie social miracle, targeted
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?