On the Moon, there are craters that are permanently in the shadows and, as a result, have puzzled scientists for decades. After all, temperatures in these regions are cooler, allowing certain compounds to stay frozen – like water, for example, which will be essential for future manned missions on our natural satellite. Since it is difficult to see what they contain, scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS) in Germany have developed HORUS, an algorithm that could help identify formations inside even in The shadow.
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The name “HORUS” stands for Hyper-effective nOise Removal U-net Software. This algorithm was developed to remove noise in images of shadow craters taken by other missions, such as the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), which has been studying the Moon for over years and mapping the surface of our satellite. natural in high definition. In addition to improving them, the software can also help correct other aspects of images, such as LRO motion.
The scientists used more than 10,000 images of different images taken by the probe, which show the permanently dark regions of the lunar south pole to calibrate the software. In addition to the images, they also worked with information about the temperature of the camera and the trajectory of the spacecraft, to differentiate which structures in the material are artefacts and which were, in fact, real. With this, they achieved a resolution of 1-2m per pixel, which is five to ten times the resolution of previously available images.
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Using this method, the researchers performed a reanalysis of images of 17 regions of the lunar south pole, which are still in the shadows. As a result, small structures such as rocks or small craters measuring only a few meters in diameter could be distinguished much more clearly than before. “With the help of the new HORUS images, we are now able to understand the geology of shadow regions on the Moon much better than before,” says Ben Moseley, co-author of the study.
Unfortunately, the photos did not show any bright areas that could indicate the appearance of ice and therefore water – but on the other hand, the algorithm worked well to show what the geology looks like in these places, something which future manned mission crews will want to know before exploring the crater floor for water. Thus, the definition of the terrain is one of the main specialties of HORUS, which can be used to help researchers identify dangerous formations for landers and rovers.
The article with the results of the study was published in the journal Nature.
Source: Universe Today, Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research
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