A PAINSTAKING study of the surface of the moon has helped scientists create the first-ever detailed map of the topography of the moon. Each month a NASA satellite-mounted camera has snapped the moons surface enabling researchers to use the shadows to calculate the exact heights and depths of the moons mountains and craters to create the clearest and most precise image ever produced. The high-resolution topographic map was created using a mixture of overlapping photography from the US space agencys Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) - creating a '3D effect - and a laser scanner. This new topographic map, from Arizona State University in Tempe, shows the surface shape and features over nearly the entire moon with a pixel scale close to 100 meters (328 feet). A single measure of elevation (one pixel) is about the size of two football fields placed side-by-side. Although the moon is our closest neighbour, knowledge of its surface is still limited. Due to instrumental limitations of previous missions, a global map of the moons topography at high resolution has not existed until now. With the LRO Wide Angle Camera and the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) instrument, scientists can now accurately portray the shape of the entire moon at high resolution. CG