WASHINGTON, March 16 (UPI) -- NASA has released the final data from its orbiting lunar mission's exploration phase along with the first measurements from its new life as a science satellite.
The fifth and final release of data from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter added striking new images and maps to the comprehensive collection of information gathered by the spacecraft's seven instruments, a NASA release said Wednesday.
"The release of such a comprehensive and rich collection of data, maps and images reinforces the tremendous success we have had with LRO in the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate and with lunar science," said Michael Wargo, chief lunar scientist of the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington.
Among the latest results is a global map in high resolution that armchair astronauts can access at NASA's Planetary Data System Web site.
"Because the moon is so close and because we have a dedicated ground station, we are able to bring back as much data from LRO as from all the other planetary missions combined," said LRO Project Scientist Richard Vondrak of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.
"All these global maps and other data are available at a very high resolution -- that's what makes this release exciting," Goddard's John Keller, the LRO deputy project scientist, said. "With this valuable collection, researchers worldwide are getting the best view of the moon they have ever had."