Video Unveils 'Dark' Side of the Moon

NASA makes video with data from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 9, 2015 2:50 PM CST

(Newser) – Curious about the far side of the moon? No one has seen it from Earth because it's always facing away from us, but a new animated video aims to light up the darkness, Tech Times reports. NASA made the video using data from its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has been circling the moon for years. The video shows that the so-called "dark" side isn't always dark—it goes through light phases just like "our" side of the moon—and has quite different terrain. "It lacks the large dark spots, called maria, that make up the familiar Man in the Moon on the near side," NASA says.

It's also covered in craters of all sizes, including the South Pole-Aitken basin, which NASA calls "one of the largest and oldest impact features in the solar system." But the $500 million LRO mission wasn't made for videography: NASA launched it in 2009 to scour the moon for possible landing places and resources, should Earthlings embark on lunar missions one day. It's been circling the moon in a polar orbit, covering the entire lunar surface and sending back terabytes of data. Fast Company compares NASA's new video to the first grainy photo of Earth, seen in 1946, and first clear shot of our planet, snapped from the Apollo 17 in 1972: "We now have another image to top both of these," says the magazine.

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