Wednesday / 26 February 2014

Lunar Laser Reflector Deterioration Explained


Apache Point Observatory Lunar Laser-Ranging Operation (APOLLO) Research Team Led By Thomas Murphy Of UCSD Working To Identify Why Scientists Receiving Only 1 Tenth Of Expected Data From Apollo & Lunokhod Reflectors; Each Laser Shot Sends 100 Quadrillion Photons Toward Moon, Currently Researchers Detect ~1 Return Photon Per Shot; Original Hypothesis Was Dust Layer On Reflectors; Research Shows Cause Of Problem Is Distortion Of Optics Due To Solar Heat; Additional Laser Reflectors Would Be Valuable Payloads On Future Moon Landers

Image Credit: NASA, UCSD, Apache Point Observatory