Lunar Orbiter: Tracking Data Indicate Properties of Moon's Gravitational Field

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Science  02 Sep 1966:
Vol. 153, Issue 3740, pp. 1102-1103
DOI: 10.1126/science.153.3740.1102


After only a few days in orbit, the first U.S. satellite of the moon has already produced data which have provided new information about the moon's gravitational field. Results indicate that the spacecraft will probably not impact on the moon before it completes its photographic mission, but that it will probably do so in about 8 months. Preliminary indications are that the moon has a relatively large pear-shaped component and that the gravitational properties will be of considerable scientific interest.