Why Is Hubble Looking at Apollo Landing Sites?

NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report #3926

SIGNIFICANT EVENTS: The first visit to the moon to the Apollo 17 target was successful, providing good quality images in all bands. The observers are pleased with the results.

NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report #3925


17502-1 - Lunar Ob Viewing 1 Zero Observer @228/2245z
17498-0 - Lunar Observation Viewing 1 OBAD 1 @228/2302z
17506-0 - Lunar Observation Viewing 1 MAP 1 @229/0036z
17507-0 - Lunar Observation Viewing 1 MAP 2 @229/0212z
17508-1 - Lunar Observation Viewing 1 MAP 3 @229/0346z


FGS Gsacq 06 06
FGS Reacq 06 06
FHST Update 12 12

SIGNIFICANT: Lunar Observation Map Summary: PCS evaluated data taken for gyro bias update at 228/2054 and determined that the observer data used was consistent with predictions, indicating that V2 attitude drift resulting from the AOA would be small. Map data collected during the visit indicated accumulating errors were consistent with estimates based on maneuver angles and gyro bias errors. The Lunar Observations were transmitted to the Science Institute and evaluated @229/0500z , with final analysis still in progress.

Reader response: "You can see the scientific program details at:


The first part of the program is echoed here as follows:

Title Mapping Resources Potential of the Lunar Surface for Human Exploration


We propose to use the ACS/HRC to delineate UV through visible color units at three test sites on the lunar surface for the purpose of identifying localized areas enriched in potential resources, including TiO2. This pathfinding experiment will make use of HST's unique high resolution imaging capabilities in the near UV. We will observe the Apollo 15 and 17 sites to establish an empirical calibration against sampled lunar soils. We will then observe the Aristarchus Plateau in search of regions enriched in TiO2 at levels that could permit in situ resources utilization activities that support sustained human exploration. Precision mapping of TiO2 abundance and other chemical proxies by virtue of HST's high angular resolution in near UV wavelengths will extend lower resolution Visible-NIR results obtained from orbit by Clementine, and set the stage for future orbital surveys later in the decade. Understanding whether there are lunar near-side sites with adequate resource potential to target human "sorties" and related robotic precursor missions represents an important decision point in NASA's implementation of the President's Vision for Space Exploration. The proposed HST ACS/HRC test data directly support near-term engineering trades associated with the optimal location for the first human return missions to the Moon. No past, current, or planned future lunar orbiting spacecraft will have the ability to investigate the near UV aspects of the lunar spectrum at such scales (~ 50m), so the results of the proposed HST observations are unique and relevant to NASA's mission."

"Observations Description

These observations of the Moon will need to be done under gyro guiding and before HST transitions to 2-gyro operations (Aug 22, 2005). In order to minimize the pointing undertainty under gyro guiding, the slew distance from the previous pointing should be minimized. Begin by acquiring guide stars at a pointing just outside of the normal Moon avoidance zone. Then, drop to gyro guiding and slew to the first science target. Observe the target with ACS/HRC in using each of F502N, F344N, F660N, and F250W in turn. Start a new tracking for each exposure in order to minimize error vs. the Moon'a actual motion. Do a POS TARG mosaic in order to allow for gyro pointing uncertainty. This completes the first visit. The 2nd and 3rd visits repeat the same procedure for the two remaining science targets. The multiple tracking slews per orbit are used to try to achieve a better fit of HST's linear moving target tracks to the non- linear motion of the Moon. The mutiple repeats of the target images with different POS TARGs are intended to generate a rough mosaic of the target area in order to minimize the chance of completely missing the target due to gyro guiding pointing uncertainty.

Real Time Justification - none
Calibration Justification - none
Additional Comments - none

Visit Status Report for 10719
Thu Aug 18 20:35:44 EDT 2005

Start Time
End Time
01 Scheduling ARISTARCHUS
Aug 20 2005 21:48:03 UT Aug 21 2005 02:50:23 UT
02 Scheduling APOLLO-15
Aug 19 2005 22:43:51 UT Aug 20 2005 04:24:10 UT
03 Scheduling APOLLO-17
Aug 16 2005 22:30:11 UT Aug 17 2005 04:06:14 UT

11 Withdrawn DARK S/C
12 Withdrawn DARK S/C
13 Withdrawn DARK S/C

Name Last modified Size Description

Aristarchus 10-Aug-2005 10:20 98k
Apollo 15 03-Aug-2005 11:22 130k
Apollo 17 03-Aug-2005 11:22 134k

  • submit to reddit


Kepler Communications - Aether - Unbound Connectivity to your on-orbit assets
Stolen Skies by Tim Powers - Baen Books
Don’t Blow Yourself Up - The Further True Adventures and Travails of the Rocket Boy of October Sky By Homer Hickam

Join our mailing list

Commercialization: Monthly Archives

Monthly Archives

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on August 18, 2005 6:38 PM.

Professor John Bahcall has died was the previous entry in this blog.

The True Potential of Space Life Science Research is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.