The Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter, one of
seven scientific instruments onboard the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft, recently completed a project resulting in a new map of the surface of moon with unprecedented detail.
Developed at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and launched in June 2009, the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) uses laser ranging to measure the moon's surface
elevation, slope, and roughness in 3D. The primary objective was to produce a global geodetic
grid for the moon to which all other observations could be geodetically referenced, NASA said.
Here, the most recent LOLA digital elevation map, which was compiled in late 2009 (right) is compared to the previous moon mapping achieved by the Unified Lunar Control Network in 2005. Notice the vastly improved detail of the moon measurements.