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Nature. 2005 Apr 14;434(7035):842.

Planetary science: constant illumination at the lunar north pole.

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Planetary Exploration Group, Space Department, The Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Maryland 20902, USA.


Images returned by the spacecraft Clementine have been used to produce a quantitative illumination map of the north pole of the Moon, revealing the percentage of time that points on the surface are illuminated during the lunar day. We have used this map to identify areas that are constantly illuminated during a lunar day in summer and which may therefore be in permanent sunlight. All are located on the northern rim of Peary crater, close to the north pole. Permanently sunlit areas represent prime locations for lunar outpost sites as they have abundant solar energy, are relatively benign thermally (when compared with equatorial regions), and are close to permanently shadowed regions that may contain water ice.

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