A method of processing lunar image data significantly improves how finely scientists can discern a key geochemical feature of the Moon's surface, a new study finds.
In past studies, researchers have used data from a gamma-ray spectrometer aboard NASA's Lunar Prospector to investigate thorium's distribution on the lunar surface. Their scrutiny revealed that the Moon has distinct geochemical provinces, a factor that influences theories of the Moon's formation history and evolution.
To improve spatial resolution, Lawrence et al. compared two different methods for 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 authors found that the data-smoothing method better represents the thorium abundances in actual features, improving image resolution by at least 50 percent.
Title: Global spatial deconvolution of Lunar Prospector Th abundances
Authors: D. J. Lawrence, R. C. Elphic, W. C. Feldman, J. J. Haggerty and T. H. Prettyman: Group ISR-1, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico, U.S.A.; R. C. Puetter: Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California, U.S.A.; also at PixonImaging LLC, San Diego, California, U.S.A.; P. D. Spudis: Applied Physics Laboratory, The Johns Hopkins University, Laurel, Maryland, U.S.A.
Source: Geophysical Research Letters (GRL) paper 10.1029/2006GL028530, 2007
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