Student use of LOLA Data

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Mt. Malapert from LOLA data, color and lighting are false

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Student use of LRO Data

-- Design your own Moon base with the latest NASA data

Mount Malapert Slope Study

Crater Malapert is located at the extreme southern limit of the face of the Moon as seen from the Earth. Directly behind this crater is a high ridge that from Earth appears to be the back rim but is really not geologically related. As this ridge has no official name it is usually referred to Mt. Malapert.

This ridge is a prime location for a human settlement on the Moon with Earth views 100% of the time, sunlight 95% plus of the time, and good access to lunar resources. A major concert until now is wither the top of this lunar mountain ridge contains enough flat ground to support a major settlement and safe landing area.

Recently two years of data from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbital (LRO) mission has become available to the public. This data is ideal for lunar location studies and is worth about 1/2 billion dollars. Of particular interest is the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) instrument. This instrument is specifically designed to measure the altitude and slope of the ground over the complete surface of the Moon. Anyone can now use this data to evaluate any lunar site they please.

Student Procedure Available

A procedure is now available that allows high school and college undergraduate students to read and analysis the latest LRO/LOLA lunar data. It is called Design your own Moon base with the latest NASA data. This step-by-step procedure requires no permissions and only commonly available computers and software with an Internet connection.

Although somewhat tedious, students can use this procedure to make contour maps of altitude with colored dots representing the slope for any location on the Moon. This new power to study the Moon can be handy whether you are checking out the setting of your next science fiction story or computer game, reviewing key historic and scientific locations, or scouting a destination for a mission you would like to lead.