Are there any accessible public data or charts of the measured and received Moon temperatures over the years?

What is the long term reliability of the instruments installed by the landings? If the (redundant) sensors were made of semiconductors, they may have suffered from cosmic rays/particles, since a heavy lead shield would have been probably too heavy. And more and more dust would influence the values, perhaps some moonquakes would decrease the thickness of a dust layer?

Is there any site with a comprehensive technical description and data for downloading?


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The Apollo missions took ALSEPs to the Moon that ran for years and provided surface and subsurface temperatures at specific spots along with other data. See this answer to get an idea what the data looked like. They also used the ALSEP radio signals for lunar ranging experiments but they eventually stopped: Why were the "perfectly functioning" seismometers placed by Apollo 12, 14, 15 and 16 astronauts all shut off in 1977?

The Earth's atmosphere has an infrared window so I suppose lunar temperatures could be roughly estimated by thermal IR spectroscopy with a small telescope, but it wouldn't be extremely accurate. Thermal imaging of the Moon from orbit may have been done, but I don't think there will be a continuous record of temperature at even one spot, much less the whole surface that is decades long and unbroken. That's just my guess. There will also be thermal IR measurements from lunar orbit but those only measure a patch at a time; there isn't continuous coverage either.

See for example The global surface temperatures of the Moon as measured by the Diviner Lunar Radiometer Experiment which is onboard the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). See UCLA's web page LRO DIVINER Lunar Radiometer Experiment

You can click on "data" to get instructions how to understand the size and contents of the data archive. There is quite a lot there to see!

2.8 MB "cool" GIF too large to embed with imgur: https://static.wixstatic.com/media/e870e6_4cc302bfb6254bf39a15c4e7ab6850b2~mv2.gif

One frame from that GIF reminds us that each spot on the Moon spends a half-month roasty-toasty in the Sun and the other exposed to the c-c-c-cold of space.

Any given spot on the Moon cycles through "warm" to very cold each month, it will be difficult to spot a small change in temperature due to shifting regolith, but may be possible with extremely careful observations. I don't know if the LRO data are good enough for that or not, but it is possible!

one frame of GIF from LRO DIVINER Lunar Radiometer Experiment http://diviner.ucla.edu

UCLA New Diviner Seasonal Polar Data Products Maximum summer and winter temperatures for the south polar region to 80°S

Figure: Maximum summer and winter temperatures for the south polar region to 80°S latitude derived from polar data products with 110 K contoured with a black line (From Williams et al., JGR, 2019).

I didn't realize the Moon had seasons!


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