Amateur astronomers and students with wide ranges of equipment and expertise are making valuable contributions to our growing understanding of our nearest celestial neighbor. Learn how you can become part of the adventure:
NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is currently in orbit around the moon, returning images of the lunar surface in unprecedented detail. Through Moon Zoo, you can learn how to interpret these images, have these images delivered to your computer, and become part of the team building a new understanding of the lunar surface. NLSI is funding a MoonZoo postdoc with support of the Maryland Space Grant Consortium.
NASA Lunar Mapping and Modeling Project
This program has created an online set of capabilities and tools that will allow anyone with an Internet connection to search through, view, and analyze a vast number of lunar images and other digital products. The project website is a one-stop location for finding, retrieving, and analyzing data about the moon, including the most recent lunar surface imagery, altimetry, temperature, lighting and other data.
Meteoroid Impact Observation Program
Telescopes with apertures from 8 to 14 inches are ideal to use for detecting and recording the flashes from meteoroid impacts on the lunar surface. Impact flashes recorded with an appropriate video camera with an accurate time stamp are of greatest scientific value.
People without access to telescopes can still make observations that could be of scientific value. Observing and recording rates of meteors visible here on Earth helps us better understand what is happening on the moon's surface in terms of small impacts. One beautiful thing about meteor counting is that excellent observations can be made with the unaided eye. There are essentially no equipment requirements; no telescopes or binoculars are needed, though a reclining lawn chair makes counting a lot more comfortable.