This image of Earth from lunar orbit was acquired by the NASA 's Moon Mineralogy Mapper - a guest instrument onboard the Indian Space Research Organization's Chandrayaan-1 mission to the moon. Australia is visible in the lower center of the image. The image is presented as a false-color composite with visible oceans a dark blue, clouds are white, and vegetation an enhanced green. The data were acquired on July 22, 2009.
The Moon Mineralogy Mapper instrument is a state-of-the-art imaging spectrometer designed to provide the first map of the entire lunar surface at high spatial and spectral resolution. Scientists will use this information to answer questions about the moon's origin and development and the evolution of terrestrial planets in the early solar system. Future astronauts will use it to locate resources, possibly including water, that can support exploration of the moon and beyond.
The Moon Mineralogy Mapper was selected as a Mission of Opportunity through the NASA Discovery Program. Carle Pieters of Brown University, Providence, R.I., is the principal investigator and has oversight of the instrument as a whole, as well as the Moon Mineralogy Mapper Science Team. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., designed and built the Moon Mineralogy Mapper and is home to its project manager, Mary White. JPL manages the program for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. The Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft was constructed, launched, and is operated by the Indian Space Research Organisation.