Scientists study lunar imaging techniques

March 22, 2007

U.S. scientists analyzing methods used to process lunar image data have found one technique is far superior to others.

In past studies, researchers used data from a gamma-ray spectrometer aboard NASA's Lunar Prospector to investigate the distribution of thorium on the lunar surface. The resulting data revealed the moon has distinct geochemical provinces, a factor that influences theories of the moon's formation history and evolution.

David Lawrence of the Los Alamos National Laboratory and colleagues compared two methods of enhancing the spatial contrast, resolution and information density of the image data. One technique relies on iterative filtering to extract data from signal noise. The other seeks to smooth data and noise into a more cohesive image.

The researchers found the data-smoothing method better represents the thorium abundances in actual features, improving image resolution by at least 50 percent.

The study appears in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

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