Laser Ranging Retro-Reflector: Continuing Measurements and Expected Results

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Science  30 Jan 1970:
Vol. 167, Issue 3918, pp. 458-460
DOI: 10.1126/science.167.3918.458


After successful acquisition in August of reflected ruby laser pulses from the Apollo 11 laser ranging retro-reflector (LRRR) with the telescopes at the Lick and McDonald observatories, repeated measurements of the round-trip travel time of light have been made from the McDonald Observatory in September with an equivalent range precision of ±2.5 meters. These acquisition period observations demonstrated the performance of the LRRR through lunar night and during sunlit conditions on the moon. Instrumentation activated at the McDonald Observatory in October has yielded a precision of ±0.3 meter, and improvement to ±0.15 meter is expected shortly. Continued monitoring of the changes in the earth-moon distance as measured by the round-trip travel time of light from suitably distributed earth stations is expected to contribute to our knowledge of the earth-moon system.

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