Scientists around the world dream of being part of a NASA science mission. Few projects carry the vigor and prestige of exploring scientific questions that can be answered only with a view from and into space.
The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO, is one of the more than 90 operating NASA missions, and is currently orbiting the moon with the primary objective of making fundamental discoveries about our closest celestial neighbor.
Launched in June 2009, the LRO’s primary mission is making fundamental scientific discoveries about the moon. Its original exploration mission was to support the extension of human presence throughout the solar system by identifying sites close to potential resources with high scientific value, favorable terrain and the environment necessary for safe future robotic and human lunar missions.
The LRO’s exploration mission was completed on September 15, 2010, when responsibility to begin the next LRO mission was transferred to NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.
The LRO has been equipped with seven instruments, one of which is the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera, or LROC. This three-camera system is mounted on the LRO to capture the moon’s surface in high-resolution black and white images and moderate-resolution, multi-spectral images allowing scientists to see beyond what is visible to the human eye.