The gravity and shape of the Moon


  • William M. Kaula


This review discusses the current knowledge of the gravity and geometry of the moon, and their implications as to lunar structure. Measurements pertaining to the gravity field are, first and foremost, Doppler tracking of spacecraft that have orbited the moon, but also the laser ranging from the earth to the moon and the gravity meters and accelerometers landed with the Apollo spacecraft. Measurements pertaining to the geometry include (1) those related to the shape: the metric photography and laser altimeters on Apollo 15, 16, and 17; the electromagnetic sounder on Apollo 17; the landmark tracking from earlier Apollo orbiters; and occupations, plus (2) measurements related to the orientation: the laser ranging and interferometry from the earth. The review does not cover determinations of topography from photography taken for geologic or landing reconnaissance purposes. The discussion of tectonic implications is limited to inferences of a quantitative nature. The emphasis is on work since 1970; see Kaula [1969, 1971] for reviews of earlier work.