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Selection of landing sites for potential human or robotic lunar missions requires precise knowledge of lunar topography. Contributing to that knowledge, Smith et al. present initial observations from the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) on board the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.

The LOLA measurements provide a high-resolution global model of lunar topography based on more observations and observations with greater accuracy than previous lunar topography maps. LOLA also collected high-resolution data on the slope, roughness, and reflectance of the lunar surface.