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Mapping the Moon and Mars Discussed At Google

Courtesy of Web Pro News

Google put up a new At Google talk with Ross Beyer from the Carl Sagan Center at the SETI Institute and Intelligent Robotics Group at NASA Ames Research Center, who discusses making maps to explore the Earth, the Moon and Mars. 


“High-quality planetary maps and 3D terrain models have become essential for NASA to plan exploration missions and conduct science,” says Google in the video description. “This is particularly true for robotic missions to the Moon and Mars, where maps are used for site selection, traverse planning, and planetary science. This is also important for studies of climate change on Earth, where maps are used to track environmental change (such as polar ice movement).”

“In this talk, we will describe how the Intelligent Robotics Group at NASA Ames builds highly accurate, large-scale planetary maps and 3D terrain models from orbital imagery using novel statistical stereographic and photometric techniques,” it says. “Orbital imagery includes data captured by the Apollo missions, on-going NASA and international missions, and commercial providers (such as Digital Globe). The mapmaking software that we have developed (Vision Workbench, Ames Stereo Pipeline, Neo-Geography Toolkit) is available as open-source and is widely used by scientists and mission planners.”

More recent At Google Talks here.

Written by Default at 14:34

Moon mapping mission ends with controlled crash

Courtesy of Nature blog

Twin spacecraft that mapped the gravity field of the Moon with unprecedented precision have succumbed to the very force they were made to measure.

Ebb and Flow, the two probes that make up NASA’s GRAIL, the Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory,crashed one after the other into the Moon at 5.28pm EST on 17 December – an end that mission planners always had in mind — after a mind-blowingly successful flight that has included producing the firstultra-high-resolution picture of the Moon’s gravitional field (right).

The probes, which flew in tandem exchanging radio signals in lunar orbits that were minutely but measurably perturbed by variations in the Moon’s density, were conceived by MIT planetary scientist Maria Zuber. Their scientific findings so far include the result that theMoon’s crust is thinner than thought during the Apollo era, and that some impact craters thought to exist from lower-resolution maps are not there. The GRAIL team still needs to carry out the more detailed data analysis needed to map out the Moon’s more mysterious  core.

Written by Default at 15:00