LRO has several instruments that help NASA characterize the moon's surface. The powerful equipment bring the moon into sharper focus and reveal new insights about the celestial body nearest Earth. The LRO payload is comprised of six instruments and one technology demonstration.
The Cosmic Ray Telescope for the Effects of Radiation (CRaTER) characterizes the lunar radiation environment and determine its potential biological impacts. CRaTER also tests models of radiation effects and shielding, which may enable the development of protective technologies.
The Diviner Lunar Radiometer (DLRE) provides orbital thermal mapping measurements, giving detailed information about surface and subsurface temperatures (identifying cold traps and potential ice deposits), as well as landing hazards such as rough terrain or rocks.
The Lyman Alpha Mapping Project (LAMP) maps the entire lunar surface in the far ultraviolet. LAMP also searches for surface ice and frost in the polar regions and provide images of permanently shadowed regions illuminated only by starlight.
The Lunar Exploration Neutron Detector (LEND) creates high resolution hydrogen distribution maps and provides information about the lunar radiation environment. LEND is used to search for evidence of water ice on the Moon's surface, and provides space radiation environment measurements useful for future human exploration.
The Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) measures landing site slopes, lunar surface roughness, and generate a high resolution 3D map of the Moon. LOLA also identifies the Moon's permanently illuminated and permanently shadowed areas by analyzing Lunar surface elevations.
The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) retrieves high resolution black and white images of the lunar surface, capturing images of the lunar poles with resolutions down to 1m, and imaging the lunar surface in color and ultraviolet. These images provide knowledge of polar illumination conditions, identify potential resources & hazards, and enable safe landing site selection.
The Mini-RF technology demonstration's primary goal is to search for subsurface water ice deposits. In addition, Mini-RF will take high-resolution imagery of permanently-shadowed regions.