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  About LROC

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) has been designed to address two of the measurement requirements:

  • Landing site certification
  • Polar illumination

We will acquire images to assess meter and smaller scale features to facilitate safety analysis for potential lunar landing sites near polar resources and elsewhere on the Moon. Synoptic 100 m/pixel imaging of the poles during every orbit for a year will unambiguously identify regions of permanent shadow and permanent or near-permanent illumination.

In addition to these two primary objectives, LROC will return six other high-value datasets:

  • Meter-scale mapping of regions of permanent or near-permanent illumination of polar massifs
  • Multiple coregistered observations of portions of potential landing sites and elsewhere for derivation of high-resolution topography through stereogrammetric and photometric stereo analyses
  • A global multispectral data set in 7 wavelengths (300-680 nm) to characterize lunar resources, in particular ilmenite
  • A global 100- m/pixel basemap with incidence angles (60-80) favorable for morphologic interpretations
  • Sub-meter imaging of a variety of geologic units to characterize physical properties and variability of the regolith
  • Meter-scale coverage overlapping with Apollo era Panoramic images (1-2 m/pixel) to document the number of small impacts since 1971-1972, to ascertain hazards for future surface operations and interplanetary travel.

LROC photo Photo Above: A technician integrates one of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter's narrow angle camera instruments.

LROC movie
Video : The LROC team talks about the instrument and LRO mission.
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  Principal Investigator

  • , School of Earth and Space Exploration, Arizona State University, Tempe AZ

  Measurement Goals

  • Landing site identification and certification, with unambiguous identification of meter-scale hazards.
  • Unambiguous mapping of permanent shadows and sunlit regions.
  • Meter-scale mapping of polar regions with continuous illumination.
  • Overlapping observations to enable derivation of meter-scale topography.
  • Global multispectral imaging to map ilmenite and other minerals.
  • Determine current impact hazard by reimaging 1-2 m/pixel Apollo images.
  • Global morphology base map.
  • Characterize regolith properties.


The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) consists of 2 narrow angle camera heads (NACs) to provide 0.5 m-scale panchromatic images over a 5-km swath, a wide angle camera head (WAC) to provide images at a scale of 100 m in seven color bands, and a common Sequence and Compressor System (SCS) to sequence image acquisition by all camera heads and compress their data before transmission to the spacecraft.

Wide Angle Camera
LROC illustration
Narrow Angle Camera
LROC illustration

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