You’ve never seen the Moon quite like this! You’ll never see the far side of the Moon (or the Dark Side of the Moon, if you’re a Pink Floyd fan) for yourself, but NASA’s got you covered with an amazing video released Saturday.
Thanks to the complicated relationship between the Earth’s rotation, the Moon’s rotation, and the Moon’s orbit, only half of it is visible to us Terrestrians (actually 59 percent, according to Earth Sky, but there’s no need to quibble).
Now, never-seen-before details have been gathered by the powerful instruments on board the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), launched in 2009, and the far side of the Moon can be seen in all its glory.
Patching together “hundreds of terabytes of data,” according to NASA, animators cobbled together LRO images of the far side of the Moon, and via time-lapse images of the Earth in the background produced an amazing video showing the far side going through its phases as the Earth spins in the background.
“Just like the near side, the far side goes through a complete cycle of phases. But the terrain of the far side is quite different. It lacks the large dark spots, called maria, that make up the familiar Man in the Moon on the near side. Instead, craters of all sizes crowd together over the entire far side.”
The first images of the far side of the moon were grainy, black and white images gathered by a Soviet spacecraft in 1959, but thanks to the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, scientists are able to see the Moon in its entirety and study its relationship to the evolution of the solar system, as well as the origins of life on Earth itself.
[Image courtesy of: YouTube]