Vote for NASA Moon Probe's Best Lunar Art Shot (Video)

by Megan Gannon, News Editor
Vote for NASA Moon Probe's Best Lunar Art Shot (Video)
Sunrise shadows on the moon's Tycho crater, as seen by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter on June 10, 2011. NASA released the photo on June 30.

NASA's moon-circling Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO, will celebrate its 5th anniversary in orbit on June 18.

To mark the occasion, the space agency officials are putting together a collection, called "The Moon as Art," and they want your vote to decide which LRO image will grace the cover.

To vote, visit NASA's website: http://lro.gsfc.nasa.gov/MoonArt/

The contenders include, "Starry Night" which was created with spacecraft's Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter, or LOLA. This instrument bounces laser pulses off the moon to measure its surface elevations and slopes. The resulting image is a circular map marking craters and other surface features with swirling blues and greens — hence the allusion to Vincent van Gogh's most famous painting.

Another, dubbed "Clerke Crater," shows flows of granular material creeping down the side of a crater wall. "Linné Topography" might look like a half-eaten Gobstopper, but it's actually a color stereo image of NASA describes as a "very young and beautifully preserved impact crater," known as Linné.

Meanwhile, "Diviner North Pole" shows nighttime temperatures at the moon's north pole as measured by the orbiter's Diviner instrument. And "Tycho Central Peak" shows the 6562-foot (2 kilometer) mountain above the Tycho crater floor.

Voting opened Friday (May 30) and ends June 6. The winning image will be unveiled on June 18, the same date that LRO launched from Florida in 2009.

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