The Lunar Surface Gravimeter as a Lunar Seismograph

Kawamura, T.; Saito, Y.; Tanaka, S.; Ono, S.; Horai, K. and Hagermann, A. (2008). The Lunar Surface Gravimeter as a Lunar Seismograph. In: 39th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, 10-14 Mar 2008, League City, Texas, USA.



Introduction: The primary objective for the Lunar Surface Gravimeter (LSG) on Apollo 17 was to search for gravitational waves, but it failed in detecting them [1]. When the instrument was deployed on the Moon, the sensor beam could not be balanced in the proper equilibrium position. Consequently, the LSG was not able to function as originally designed. Lauderdale and Eichelman (1974) [1] concluded that “no provision has been made to supply data from the experiment to the National Space Science Data Center.” However, it was reported in Giganti et al. (1977) [2] that though they had not detected gravitational waves, after a series of reconfigurations the beam was recentered and the LSG gathered useful data. Besides the observation of gravitational waves, the LSG was also designed to observe seismic signals and tidal deformations [3]. According to Giganti et al. (1977) [2] LSG’s sensitivity covered the frequency range from 1~16Hz (Fig.1). There are several types of moonquakes reported, deep moonquakes, meteorite impacts, and high frequency teleseismic (HFT). Each of the moonquakes is known to have a resonant frequency around 1Hz and in addition, HFT has a predominant frequency around 10 Hz [4]. Therefore it is likely that the LSG was detecting the seismic events on the Moon. However, the LSG data have not been analyzed from a seismological point of view.

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