back to article NASA reveals Moon's rugged south pole

NASA has revealed "the highest resolution terrain mapping to date" of the Moon's south pole, revealing that it's "much more rugged than previously understood". Scientists at the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena used* the Goldstone Solar System Radar in the Mojave Desert to capture the 20 metres per pixel data - …


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  1. anarchic-teapot

    There's nice

    What's Mount McKinley?

    And where are the Register equivalents of these measures?

  2. Matt


    No cheese then ?

  3. Torben Mogensen

    Strange choice of colours

    It is strange that they have chosen a colour scheme where blue is higher than green and yellow. We are so accustomed to thinking of blue as sea (deep) and green or yellow as land (high), so it is difficult (for me, at least) to "see" the picture as round craters instead of round hills.

  4. Ian Hunter
    Paris Hilton

    The Eagle Has Landed?

    Since the new LRO that's being launched this year can resolve down to one metre, will they finally show the Apollo LEMs that are sitting there?

    NASA can silence the crazy fools who think that we didn't go to the moon.

    Paris, as she probably thinks the moon is made of cheese.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How high?

    In internationally recognised Vulture units, that's 44242 lg.

  6. Joe Cooper
    Paris Hilton

    @Ian Hunter

    Don't be silly, of course we didn't go to the moon. Surely you don't believe that fairy tale?

    Next thing you'll be telling me there are these magical pods that fly around the Earth and let people communicate over long distances - like telepathy or something! - or track people's locations or spy on other countries.

    I can't believe people fall for this "orbit" stuff. Everyone knows the Earth is flat.

  7. Damian Gabriel Moran

    difficulty with landing on the terrain?

    pah, I used to score top marks when playing Lander so if they want me to do it for them I will be more than happy!

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Water ice is important

    Says a NASA spokesperson, "Water ice is important if our astronauts are to enjoy their gins and tonic while filming of the historic landing takes place at the specially designed soundstage at Universal mean on the moon."

    Mines the one with the pocket full of Ritalin.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    The Poles get everywhere

    So, does the moon have a "North" pole? I'd have thought not, or are we just picking the axis of rotation and assigning north to be the same end as Earths?

  10. Kane Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    @ How high?

    Actually, according to Vulture Central Standards Soviet, there is no equivalent conversion for Height. The lg (EU standard (Florentine) linguine (unboiled at sea level)) is the form of measurement for Length, but for the purposes of this article, the proposed amount of 44242 lg is acceptable.

    Any chance of an update on the standards of measurement, El Reg? The people need to know....

    Paris, because she has no standards

  11. Espy

    Blown Away

    So my Eagle's about to land, descent engine blasting. Wow there's a lot of geysers steaming up at me suddenly...

  12. Steve

    @ How high?

    The customary unit of height is the Eiffel Tower, although for a NASA-related measurement perhaps the Saturn V (SV) would be better? It is almost the same as the height of St Paul's catherdral.

    This would make Mt McKinley

    19 Eiffels

    56 SV

    55.8 StP

    (figures from Wikipedia, sorry)

  13. Anonymous Coward

    They've found water?!?!?!?

    Denali (Mt McKinley) is 20,320 feet *above see level*. So, have they've found oceans on the moon or is the moon's orbit getting dangerously close to the Earth...?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How low

    OK, so we have sorted out height but what about depth?

    NASA seem to be using Grand Canyons; which is typical of their imperialist American viewpoint.

    But surely the Reg should have a good unit of depth? Using Eiffels is obviously incorrect as, last time I looked, they went up into the air and not down.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Suggested Reg height measurement.

    The hp, or 'Horizontal Paris'. Approximately 8 inches high.

    I choose the NINJA Icon!!

  16. Graham Marsden

    @How Low?

    > surely the Reg should have a good unit of depth?

    I would suggest for small measurements, the PH or Pot Hole, being 2" deep, would be suitable. (Apparently Councils have been recommended that any hole that is less than 2 inches or 50mm deep is no longer a "priority" for repair)

    For greater depths, the "Blackburn (Lancashire)" or Bbn(L), being 4000 x 2" holes would be suitable.

    Thus the average depth of the Grand Canyon would be approximately 8 Bbn(L) and the lunar craters around 32Bbn(L)


  17. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    @Ian Hunter

    "NASA can silence the crazy fools who think that we didn't go to the moon."

    Strange that a high res image of the flag and lander hasn't turned up yet then isn't it? The first thing i'd do is survey a know area to confirm the thing actually works.

  18. Steve

    Elevation scale wrong?

    Is it just me, or is the elevation scale backwards? It seems that the purple/violet color is lower than the orange. Also, it seems that the blue is lower than the green. Maybe it is just an optical illusion thing, and I need some caffeine to wake up.

  19. Anonymous Coward

    RE: @Ian Hunter

    "Strange that a high res image of the flag and lander hasn't turned up yet then isn't it?"

    That's gonna be one huuuuuuge flag they planted there if they only image down to 1 pixel/metre (0.14 pixel/lg):-)

    I guess that it'll be a tiny 4 pixel wide dot on the image (given the LEMs are about 4m wide, or 28.57lg), so the tin-foil hat brigade will just shout either "That's just a rock!" or "But NASA controls the release of those pictures, they've doctored them". You can't win. I mean, I think you can still bounce a laser off the mirrors that they left on the moon to measure the distance from the earth - it's spiralling away at a rate of 0.2714lg per year (apologies this figure is too small to be represented as a percentage of the max velocity of a sheep in a vacuum).

    Ooh it's been a long day

  20. Keith T

    Football field

    "The antenna, three-quarters the size of a football field,"

    That would be a U.S. football field, not U.K.

    -- so about 1 1/2 Olympic swimming pools?

  21. Anonymous Coward

    Where's the klangers?

    I perceive that this must be a fictional tale. I can see no evidence of the klangers on those photo's, and knowing that NASA aren't beyond using Photoshop to touch up their photo's I also know that their touching up skills are limited. After all, Buzz Aldrin said "One small step for man, one giant leap for a klanger".

  22. Nick Woodson

    .....And again from an American.......

    There's no need to ask how low anything is.......never as low as a NASA bureaucrat’s belly............

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    Hi-res Apollo archive shots

    Point your thingy at

    It's first class.

    Regarding the LRO imaging system, presumably the resolution is 1 metre per pixel, so don't expect stunning views of the Apollo LMs on the Moon.

  24. Tim

    Ok then,

    Allow me to be the fist to comment on how cool it is they bounced signals of the moon and got a decent map. That's some pretty impressive physics when you consider the relative motions and other associated errors. I wonder if they're even going to try for something much further away like Mars?

    The range seems a bit impractical IF it can't scan past the moon, and requiring a huge radio telescope makes it impractical to send up into space, but I hope the technology gets miniaturised and used on further afield objects.

  25. Mark Roome

    @ Graham Marsden

    You have obviously never been to South Africa. 2" (5cm) is a VERY shallow pothole. A decent one is about 10" (25cm) deep, and those are the general ones. We have some that you can drive through, and both the front and rear wheels will be in the "pothole" at the same time.

  26. lglethal Silver badge

    @ AC

    The high res image satellite gets LAUNCHED later this year, so yeah not really surprising that we dont have any high res images of the lander yet. Also as the high res satellite has only a res of 1m your still not going to get to see the flag, and maybe only a bit of a dodgy blur for the lander.

    So the kooks are still going to claim the yanks never landed and everyone else will just groan and ask NASA to hurry up and get back there...

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    also confused

    as well as the colour scale, how did they establish the 0 postiion in the scale. I know 0 represents sea level on earth... but what does 0 level mean on the moon? xxxx feet above/below what exectly??

  28. Sam


    I thought the old green cheese didn't have a magnetic field?

    So, shouldn't that be "Axis"?

  29. Andy Bright

    When will the advertising on the moon's surface start?

    I've been waiting to see insurance or pharmaceutical corporate logos rising romantically of an eve.

    And even if projecting onto the moon's surface isn't feasible, I was told we could expect some sort of low-orbiting satellite thingy that could present an image in the sky roughly the size of the moon.

    Ahh the sweet smell of money, nothing warms the heart more than seeing everything exploited for the benefit of our underpaid CEOs.

  30. Anonymous Coward

    @ Andrew

    "After all, Buzz Aldrin said "One small step for man, one giant leap for a klanger". "

    I think Neil might has something to say about that quote.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Tim @Michael


    You'll be glad to know that the Americans previously imaged the surface of Venus with Earth-based during the early 1980s. These maps were superseded by data retrieved by the orbiters Pioneer Venus, Magellan and Veneras 15 and 16.

    More recently they've used the Goldstone telescope to examine the Martian surface and done several surveys of Earth-crossing asteroids. The resolution is usually pretty low (Mars maps were in the tens of kilometres per pixel level), but they can reveal large geological features and the relative roughness of the surface. IIRC as long ago as the 1970s radar surveys of Mars were used to identify areas of the surface where the Viking landers could touch down safely.


    Lunar altitudes are calculated as differences from the centre of the Moon. The most up to date figure for the mean lunar surface is 1,737,988 metres from the centre, with spot heights being given as +/- that number. IIRC the highest points on the Moon are something like 4,700 metres above the mean surface. Calculating altitude is not as easy as it sounds since the Moon is noticeably aspherical with a considerably thicker crust on the far side than the hemisphere we see from Earth.


  32. Ambi Valent
    Paris Hilton

    Oh my!

    Hang on, did i just see an interposed blob on the image?? Must be a Bug in Photoshop or Corel Draw...

    My question is really simple, how come we dont have an image of the said pole, with an America flag, flapping in the vaccum???

    Paris, because she she's been to the moon and back....

  33. gautam
    Paris Hilton

    Fair Question

    With the development in optics and imaging power, surely someone has to be able to "show" this Flag/pole/equipment etc that were left behind almost 40 yrs ago?

    For that matter, wheres the youtube video of the downed rogue satellite?

    I stil think its a ploy to spook the Russinas into an arms race and drain their purses, a la Reagan ! Or maybe more funds for NASA now that the blinkered American's appetite has been whetted.

    Paris because she can see her eyelashes, at least.

  34. Roger Brown

    comic relief?

    Where's Douglas Adams when we need him?

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