Engineering 1. Flying to the Moon

2. Receiving CRaTER

3. Detecting Cosmic

4. Simulating Human

5. Testing CRaTER


2. Receiving CRaTER Data
  Radio Telescopes
Two radio telescopes at the White Sands Test Facility in New Mexico.  One of them communicates with LRO, sending commands to and receiving data from the spacecraft.  The telescopes are about 18 meters (60 feet) in diameter.  (NASA)

LRO has an antenna that sends radio signals to a radio telescope in New Mexico. LRO can send almost 500 gigabytes of data from all its instruments down to Earth every day! This is the same amount of information a typical desktop can store.

The station in New Mexico transmits the data over the internet to the Mission Operation Center, or MOC (pronounced“mock”).  The MOC for LRO is at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. 

LRO Mission Operation Center
LRO's Mission Operation Center at Goddard Space Flight Center, decorated for Christmas. The large screen on the right shows where LRO is above the Moon. To the left of that is a screen showing computer commands sent to the spacecraft. (Andrew Jordan)

The MOC separates the data for each instrument. Then it sends each instrument's data over the internet to the instrument's science operation center, or SOC (pronounced "sock").

These SOCs are located throughout the United States. The SOC for CRaTER is at the University of New Hampshire. Once the data arrive at the SOC, scientists can begin analyzing them.

Ray, the Cosmic Ray

“Scientists love data.  But how does CRaTER create the data? 
Go to
3. Detecting Cosmic Rays.”