NASA’s ER-2 taking off with air-LUSI moonlight collection equipment on board. Photo/Ken Ulbrich/NASA
Last week, scientists from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and the University of Guelph sent a telescope to the top of the sky, almost to space itself.
The trip was a moonlight-gathering mission that has yielded some of the best measurements ever taken of the brightness, or more specifically the surface reflectance, of Earth’s nearest neighbor, the Moon.
The ultimate goal of the work is to improve measurements made by satellites that look down at Earth and help researchers track weather patterns, trends in crop health, the locations of harmful algal blooms in water and much more.