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Preliminary results of the Apollo 17 infrared scanning radiometer


The thermal emission of the lunar surface has been mapped by an infrared scanner from lunar orbit. Samples from approximately 2.5 × 105 scans reveal the full range of lunar temperatures from 80 K to 400 K. The temperature resolution was 1 K with about ± 2 K absolute precision. Spatial resolution was approximately 2 km over most of the horizon-to-horizon scan. The total mapped area amounted to approximately 30% of the lunar surface.

The data currently available confirms the large population of nighttime thermal anomalies in western Oceanus Procellarum predicted by Earthbased observations. Most of these ‘hot spots’ are associated with fresh impact features or boulder fields. Also seen in the data are ‘cold spots’ where

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Mendell, W.W., Low, F.J. Preliminary results of the Apollo 17 infrared scanning radiometer. The Moon 9, 97–103 (1974).

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  • Large Population
  • Boulder
  • Full Range
  • Temperature Resolution
  • Thermal Emission