Two new NASA LRO videos: See moon's evolution, take a tour

Mar 14, 2012
This is a view of the moon's Orientale Basin. Credit: NASA

In honor of 1,000 days in orbit, the NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) team at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt Md. has released two new videos.

One video takes viewers through the moon's , and reveals how it came to appear the way it does today. Another video gives viewers a guided tour of prominent locations on the moon's surface, compiled by the spacecraft's observations of the moon.

"Evolution of the Moon" explains why the moon did not always look like it does now. The moon likely started as a giant ball of magma formed from the remains of a collision by a Mars sized object with the Earth about four and a half billion years ago. After the magma cooled, the moon's crust formed. Then between 4.5 and 4.3 billion years ago, a giant object hit near the moon's South Pole, forming the South Pole-Aitken Basin, one of the two largest proven impact basins in the solar system. This marked the beginning of collisions that would cause large scale changes to the moon's surface, such as the formation of large basins.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

Because the moon had not entirely cooled on the inside, magma began to seep through cracks caused by impacts. Around one billion years ago, it's thought that volcanic activity ended on the near side of the moon as the last of the large impacts made their mark on the surface. The moon continued to be battered by smaller impacts. Some of the best-known impacts from this period include the Tycho, Copernicus, and Aristarchus craters. So, while the moon today may seem to be an unchanging world, its appearance is the result of billions of years of violent activity.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

"Tour of the Moon" takes viewers to several interesting locations on the . Tour stops included in this breathtaking journey across the moon's surface are: Orientale Basin, Shackleton crater, South Pole-Aitken Basin, Tycho crater, Aristarchus Plateau, Mare Serenitatis, Compton-Belkovich volcano, Jackson crater and Tsiolkovsky crater. The fully narrated video, as well as clips from each of the stops on the tour, are available to everyone in formats viewable on virtually any device.

Explore further: NASA issues 'remastered' view of Jupiter's moon Europa

Related Stories

NASA tests moon orbiter components

Jan 12, 2008

U.S. engineers are testing the components of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter to make sure it is ready for its mission to the moon.

Biggest, Deepest Crater Exposes Hidden, Ancient Moon

Mar 04, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Shortly after the Moon formed, an asteroid smacked into its southern hemisphere and gouged out a truly enormous crater, the South Pole-Aitken basin, almost 1,500 miles across and more than ...

New lunar eclipse video released

Jun 09, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- In anticipation of the upcoming lunar eclipse later this month, NASA has released a new video that shows how lunar eclipses work.

Recommended for you

NASA issues 'remastered' view of Jupiter's moon Europa

Nov 21, 2014

(Phys.org) —Scientists have produced a new version of what is perhaps NASA's best view of Jupiter's ice-covered moon, Europa. The mosaic of color images was obtained in the late 1990s by NASA's Galileo ...

European space plane set for February launch

Nov 21, 2014

Europe's first-ever "space plane" will be launched on February 11 next year, rocket firm Arianespace said Friday after a three-month delay to fine-tune the mission flight plan.

Space station rarity: Two women on long-term crew

Nov 21, 2014

For the 21st-century spacewoman, gender is a subject often best ignored. After years of training for their first space mission, the last thing Samantha Cristoforetti and Elana Serova want to dwell on is the ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

kevinrtrs
Mar 15, 2012
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
kevinrtrs
1.6 / 5 (7) Mar 15, 2012
Oh, did they mention about the fact that that there's water on the moon, INSIDE the rocks?
Any such formation impact would have vapourized the water completely so where does the locked-up water comes from?
bewertow
4 / 5 (2) Mar 15, 2012
If you actually want an answer, why don't you get off your fat ass and read a basic book on solar system formation?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.