This is so cool: NASA’s twin GRAIL spacecraft (now named Ebb and Flow) have cameras on board to take images of the lunar surface, and an animation has been put together of Ebb’s view of the Moon’s far side!
Pretty neat. I love the wide-angle view; the individual images were taken while Ebb was still over a thousand kilometers from the Moon. The huge circular feature you can see on the right 30 seconds into the video is Orientale Basin, an impact so huge it must’ve lit up the solar system a few billion years ago. That basin is nearly 1000 km (600 miles) across! See the LRO image below for a clearer view, and click it for more info.
I’m really looking forward to seeing what will be done with these cameras. As Principal Investigator Maria Zuber explains in the video, they were installed specifically for educational purposes, and kids all over America will get a chance to examine the data. I love this idea, since it means these children will be invested in the project itself, and remember it for their whole lives. It’s a fantastic idea.
Image credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University