Volume 8, Issue 3, September 2020, Page: 39-44
A Critical Review of the Lunar Laser Ranging
Andreas Märki, Märki Analytics for Space, Erlenbach ZH, Switzerland
Received: Jul. 14, 2020;       Accepted: Jul. 31, 2020;       Published: Aug. 20, 2020
DOI: 10.11648/j.ajaa.20200803.11      View  165      Downloads  133
This paper provides an overview of the Lunar Laser Ranging (LLR) experiments. The measurement principle is explained and its theory is derived. Both contributions, the direct reflected light from retroreflectors as well as the scattered light from the lunar surface are considered. The measurement results from the Sixties until 2007 are then compared between different LLR stations and with the theoretical forecast. The very first experiment was in 1962: a laser beam was directed to the Moon and the scattered light from the lunar surface was detected. The number of received photons was in line with the theory. Then from 1969 the laser beams were directed to retroreflectors placed by Apollo astronauts and Luna space crafts. Retroreflectors are on the one hand reference points for long term measurements; on the other hand they deliver a much stronger return signal compared to the scattered return. But none of the stations could measure the expected amplification of the retroreflectors. The number of received photons remained in line with measurements to the bare surface of the Moon. Therefore either all retroreflectors have degraded such that their return signals fit to the scattered return from the lunar soil or the measurements were indeed taken to the lunar surface only.
LLR, Retroreflector, Scattering
To cite this article
Andreas Märki, A Critical Review of the Lunar Laser Ranging, American Journal of Astronomy and Astrophysics. Vol. 8, No. 3, 2020, pp. 39-44. doi: 10.11648/j.ajaa.20200803.11
Copyright © 2020 Authors retain the copyright of this article.
This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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