Number 180 (Story #3), May 27, 1994 by Phillip F. Schewe and Ben Stein|
THE CLEMENTINE SPACECRAFT has produced the best map of the moon yet. This map is global, including the little-studied polar regions. It is multi-spectral: shot at 11 different wavelengths, the pictures provide information about the mineral compositions and the ages of moon rocks. And it has good spatial resolution: the vertical topography of the moon, for example, was measured to within 100 m, an improvement by a factor of 10 over previous maps. This accuracy permitted an extensive study of the South Pole-Aitken basin, the deepest (12 km) and largest (2500 km across) impact basin in the solar system. Speaking at the AGU meeting, Eugene Shoemaker of the Lowell Observatory said that the lunar phase of the mission had been a complete success. Clementine's secondary scientific task, a rendezvous with the asteroid Geographos, failed because of the uncontrolled spinning of the spacecraft after its departure from lunar orbit.