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The Moon as a climate-quality radiometric calibration reference

June 5, 2020

On-orbit calibration requirements for a space-based climate observing system include long-term sensor response stability and reliable inter-calibration of multiple sensors, both contemporaneous and in succession. The difficulties with achieving these for reflected solar wavelength instruments are well known. The Moon can be considered a diffuse reflector of sunlight, and its exceptional photometric stability has enabled development of a lunar radiometric reference, manifest as a model that is queried for the specific conditions of Moon observations. The lunar irradiance model developed by the Robotic Lunar Observatory (ROLO) project has adequate precision for sensor response temporal trending, but a climate-quality lunar reference will require at least an order of magnitude improvement in absolute accuracy. To redevelop the lunar calibration reference with sub-percent uncertainty and SI traceability requires collecting new, high-accuracy Moon characterization measurements. This paper describes specifications for such measurements, along with a conceptual framework for reconstructing the lunar reference using them. Three currently active NASA-sponsored projects have objectives to acquire measurements that can support a climate-quality lunar reference: air-LUSI, dedicated lunar spectral irradiance measurements from the NASA ER-2 high altitude aircraft; ARCSTONE, dedicated lunar spectral reflectance measurements from a small satellite; and Moon viewing opportunities by CLARREO Pathfinder from the International Space Station. 

Publication Year 2020
Title The Moon as a climate-quality radiometric calibration reference
DOI 10.3390/rs12111837
Authors Thomas C. Stone, Hugh H. Kieffer, Constantine Lukashin, Kevin Turpie
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Remote Sensing
Index ID 70214644
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Astrogeology Science Center