Lunar laser ranging in infrared at the Grasse laser station
Université Côte d’Azur, CNRS, Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur, IRD, Géoazur UMR 7329, 2130 route de l’Observatoire, 06460 Caussols, France
Received: 24 March 2016
Accepted: 23 January 2017
For many years, lunar laser ranging (LLR) observations using a green wavelength have suffered an inhomogeneity problem both temporally and spatially. This paper reports on the implementation of a new infrared detection at the Grasse LLR station and describes how infrared telemetry improves this situation. Our first results show that infrared detection permits us to densify the observations and allows measurements during the new and the full Moon periods. The link budget improvement leads to homogeneous telemetric measurements on each lunar retro-reflector. Finally, a surprising result is obtained on the Lunokhod 2 array which attains the same efficiency as Lunokhod 1 with an infrared laser link, although those two targets exhibit a differential efficiency of six with a green laser link.
Key words: instrumentation: detectors / Moon
© ESO, 2017