June 28, 2022
Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Takes Picture of Jupiter

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Takes Picture of Jupiter

since 2009, space ship The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO – Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, free translation) is developing its work on lunar exploration and mapping, sending high-resolution images of the lunar surface. Our natural moon.

It turns out, from time to time, that the probe shifts its focus to peek at Solar SystemAnd he ends up picking up things outside of his main mission. The NASA team responsible for the LRO has already received images of planets such as Mars and even Earth.

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This time, the “model” of the image was Jupiter. It’s okay that the image captured by LRO does not even come close to the accuracy and beauty of images captured by the space telescope. Hubble, for example. But considering the conditions (more than 600 million kilometers away, as well as the fact that the probe orbits at an altitude of 100 kilometers above the lunar surface) the picture is actually pretty good.

Image of Jupiter taken by LRO, NASA’s lunar probe. Photo: LRO – NASA

Good enough to make officials proud. “We took a picture of Jupiter on the Moon last month,” LRO team member Brett Denevi said on Twitter. “It may not be the highest resolution ever, but it’s our decision. From the Moon to Jupiter with love.”

“It’s fun to catch a glimpse of our solar system now and then from our position in orbit around the moon,” she stated.

Aging limits the functionality of NASA’s lunar probe

According to Phys, the LRO team used some high-powered, accurate timing calculations to use the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) to survey the region of the sky where Jupiter would be. They got lucky.

Since LRO is 12 years old, some things just don’t work like they used to. The inertial measurement unit (IMU) that tracks its target is nearing the end of its life.

IMU is now only used in emergency or special situations. The LRO team must use the spacecraft’s star-tracking cameras to get an estimate of its position and rotation.

This “adds complexities to the picture anywhere but the surface of the moon,” Denphy explained. “The spacecraft is also aging gracefully, so the solar panels need to be rotated away from the sun for as little time as possible. Then, adding other thermal and time constraints, the operations team had to work hard to find the right moment to turn the spacecraft into the outer solar system and survey Jupiter to get That picture “.

“But like so many people around the world who want to turn their telescopes to the sky and see stars and planets firsthand, the LROC team couldn’t resist doing the same,” Denfy said.

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