NASA's guest instrument aboard Chandrayaan-1 has taken a new composite image, which provides new information about the Orientale Basin region of the moon. It is known as the Moon Mineralogy Mapper.
The Orientale Basin is located on the moon's western limb. The Moon Mineralogy Mapper is the first instrument to provide highly uniform imaging of the lunar surface. Along with the length and width dimensions across a typical image, the instrument analyzes a third dimension - color.
The composite image consists a subset of Moon Mineralogy Mapper data for the Orientale region. The image strip on the left is a color composite of data from 28 separate wavelengths of light reflected from the moon. The blue to red tones reveal changes in rock and mineral composition, and the green color is an indication of the abundance of iron-bearing minerals such as pyroxene.
Because of the Moon Mineralogy Mapper scientists have the chance to examine lunar mineralogy at high spatial and spectral resolution.
"The Moon Mineralogy Mapper provides us with compositional information across the moon that we have never had access to before," said Carle Pieters, the instrument's principal investigator, from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.
"Our ability to now identify and map the composition of the surface in geologic context provides a new level of detail needed to explore and understand Earth's nearest neighbor," Pieters added.