Diviner Lunar Radiometer Extended Mission Results

Monday, 15 December 2014
Matthew A Siegler, Jet Propulsion Lab, Pasadena, CA, United States

With more than 5 years in lunar orbit, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) Diviner Lunar Radiometer is acquiring a thermal infrared dataset of unprecedented coverage and detail. The LRO spacecraft's orbit is fixed in inertial space, which has allowed Diviner to acquire multispectral thermal emission measurements covering 24 hours in local time over the entire globe at a spatial resolution of less than 1 km. The original measurement goals of the Diviner experiment were to: 1. Characterize the Moon's surface thermal environments; 2. Map the properties of the lunar surface; and 3. Characterize polar cold traps. During the LRO extended mission, Diviner has made detailed maps of the bulk thermal properties of the lunar surface, including the distribution of exposed rocks, surface roughness, and the thickness of the low-density surface layer. In addition, Diviner’s thermal emission measurements near 8 microns wavelength have enabled mapping of the Moon's silicate composition. Diviner's high latitude measurements have defined the locations of cold traps for polar volatiles, and are being analyzed to provide new constraints on lunar heat flow. Comparisons between Diviner data and other lunar datasets are providing key insights in to the moon's composition, geological history, and the distribution of volatiles. As a result of Diviner's comprehensive infrared dataset , the moon is the most completely mapped body in the solar system, and much of what has been learned can be applied to studying other airless bodies.