MOON PHOTOS: Lunar Orbiter's First Pictures Released

MOON PHOTOS: Lunar Orbiter's First Pictures Released
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NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, shown above in an artist's conception, reached lunar orbit on June 23, 2009, and started sending its first pictures of the moon's surface in early July.

Currently the spacecraft is testing its instruments, including its cameras, in a fuel-saving elliptical orbit that brings it 19 miles (31 kilometers) above the moon's south pole and 124 miles (200 kilometers) over the north pole.

Come August the spacecraft will enter its primary orbit approximately 31 miles (50 kilometers) above the lunar surface, where it will spend at least a year collecting data.

—Image courtesy NASA
 
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