Thursday, February 26, 2009

Far Side of The Moon

The Far Side of The Moon

Credit: JAXA

Credit: JAXA

Figures: The topography maps and free-air gravity maps of the global Moon obtained by JAXA's KAGUYA spacecraft. The far-side is on the left and the near-side is on the right.

"Previous models of far-side gravity of the Moon were not accurate, since from the Earth we cannot track directly the spacecraft over the far-side. KAGUYA has a subsatellite OKINA which can relay the radiowave between the ground and the main satellite, thus establishing a link between the ground station and the main satellite while it is over the far side of the Moon. The orbital tracking of KAGUYA using OKINA produced the first accurate lunar gravity map including the far-side. The lunar far-side impact structures show a lack of strongly extended density anomalies which are observed beneath some impact basins in the near-side. The result suggests that far-side crust was cooler and harder than that of the nearside."

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