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Determination of the lunar body tide from global laser altimetry data

Thor, Robin N.; Kallenbach, Reinald; Christensen, Ulrich R.; Gläser, Philipp; Stark, Alexander; Steinbrügge, Gregor; Oberst, Jürgen

We use global data from the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) to retrieve the lunar tidal Love number h2 and find h2=0.0387±0.0025. This result is in agreement with previous estimates from laser altimetry using crossover points of LOLA profiles. The Love numbers k2 and h2 are key constraints on planetary interior models. We further develop and apply a retrieval method based on a simultaneous inversion for the topography and the tidal signal benefiting from the large volume of LOLA data. By the application to the lunar tides, we also demonstrate the potential of the method for future altimetry experiments at other planetary bodies. The results of this study are very promising with respect to the determination of Mercury’s and Ganymede’s h2 from future altimeter measurements.
Published in: Journal of geodesy, 10.1007/s00190-020-01455-8, Springer