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Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO)

Topics Covered:

  1. Awareness in space.

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO)

 

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: About LRO- mission objectives, components and significance, Significance of Lunar water and benefits.

 

Context: Ten years ago (Oct. 9), NASA slammed a hunk of space junk into the moon, forever changing our perception of Earth’s nearest neighbour.

 

Background:

The space agency’s Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) and Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) missions launched together on June 18, 2009, riding atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. 

LRO sped to lunar orbit, where it continues to operate today. But LCROSS remained attached to the Atlas V’s Centaur upper stage and went into a long, elliptical path around Earth that put it on an intentional collision course with the moon. 

 

About Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO):

It is a NASA mission to the moon within the Lunar Precursor and Robotic Program (LPRP) in preparation for future manned missions to the moon and beyond (Mars).

LRO is the first mission of NASA’s `New Vision for Space Exploration’.

The objectives of LRO are to:

  • Identify potential lunar resources.
  • Gather detailed maps of the lunar surface.
  • Collect data on the moon’s radiation levels.
  • Study the moons polar regions for resources that could be used in future manned missions or robotic sample return missions.
  • Provide measurements to characterize future robotic explorers, human lunar landing sites and to derive measurements that can be used directly in support of future Lunar Human Exploration Systems.

 

Sources: the hindu.

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