The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Mission – Six years of science and exploration at the Moon

J. W. Keller, N. E. Petro, R. R. Vondrak 2016

link:: doi:: 10.1016/j.icarus.2015.11.024


Since entering lunar orbit on June 23, 2009 the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) has made comprehensive measurements of the Moon and its environment. The seven LRO instruments use a variety of primarily remote sensing techniques to obtain a unique set of observations. These measurements provide new information regarding the physical properties of the lunar surface, the lunar environment, and the location of volatiles and other resources. Scientific interpretation of these observations improves our understanding of the geologic history of the Moon, its current state, and what its history can tell us about the evolution of the Solar System. Scientific results from LRO observations overturned existing paradigms and deepened our appreciation of the complex nature of our nearest neighbor. This paper summarizes the capabilities, measurements, and some of the science and exploration results of the first six years of the LRO mission.