When Will NASA Release LRO Imagery?

LRO Blog, Blogspot

"This blog follows the progress of the LRO mission through Integration and Testing at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and launch site processing at KSC\Astrotech. Its purpose is to enable communication to the entire LRO Team about the status of ongoing activities."

Keith's note: This blog is updated rather frequently with some very interesting information - so I would suggest that you just ignore this NASA HQ LRO site and this NASA GSFC LRO site which have little current information. Strangely, neither of these NASA official websites link to this much more informative blog - one that is updated by the actual mission team.

I have sent repeated emails to NASA ESMD PAO trying to find out when LRO images will be released. Based on the email replies they have sent me, it would seem that no images will be released to the public for several months. Moreover, NASA is apparently only going to highlight selected images when they are eventually released. And yes, I understand that the LROC needs to be tested and calibrated, but many other missions regularly issue preliminary images - even if they are not the best quality.

Indeed, the LCROSS team is going to post live imagery online as LCROSS makes its first pass by the Moon on Tuesday, 23 June. Meanwhile, according to "LRO Mission Status 6/20/2009 11:45 EDT on the the LRO Blog "We have turned on decontamination heaters on the LRO Camera to drive out moisture and any other volatiles before we turn on LROC." So ... when will the LRO send back its first images - and why can't we see them as soon as they arrive on Earth?

Contrast this with the Cassini and MER missions who publish raw images on their websites almost as soon as they arrive on Earth. A search of the LROC website reveals nothing as to when we'll actually see images. They do not seem to be in much of a hurry to let people know what is going since this page says "LROC images are not currently available, because the orbiter is still waiting for launch. Once launched, the orbiter will began taking amazing pictures of the moon."

"Amazing"? Absolutely. I am sure that the images will vastly exceed expectations. But why should LRO be different from other missions when it comes to releasing imagery?

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on June 21, 2009 9:18 PM.

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