National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

Kaguya Mission Reveals a New Global View of the Moon

| Science

A New Global View of the Moon

Scientific teams of the Japanese KAGUYA (SELENE) mission present a new global view of the Moon. One of the team reports lunar global shape and topography with two order of magnitude higher density and better vertical resolution than previously avaiable. The result shows that the highest point on the Moon is on the southern rim of the Dirichlet-Jackson basin, and the lowest one is in the Antoniadi crater. The full-range topography spans about 19.81km, which is greater than previous estimation. A dramatically improved gravity model is also reported. The model includes farside tracking data for the first time. The results reveal that the farside mascons don not resemble their nearside counterparts. The researchers interpret the results as indicating cooler, more rigid early conditions on the farside than previously thought.

The above and additional findings are presented in Science magazine published on 13 Febuary 2009.