In the 7 years that the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) has been orbiting the Moon, the data returned from its instruments has revolutionized what we know about the Moon – it is a dynamic world, rich in resources like water ice. And now, LRO has been approved for a third Extended Mission (EM3)! This means that LRO continues operating for the next 2 years, returning data which help us further unravel the Moon's history.
During EM3, the Diviner instrument onboard LRO will contribute to the mission by acquiring thermal measurements at even more varying viewing and illumination geometries, making targeted nighttime observations over regions of varying age, and making observations during twilight and eclipses. Diviner's measurements are used as inputs into models which derive surface properties. The new observations increase Diviner's temporal and spatial coverage of the Moon, which we use to characterize the stability of volatiles, and understand the nature and evolution of the lunar regolith.
Read NASA's 2016 Senior Review of Operating Missions here; LRO received a rating of Excellent/Very Good.