Mapping the Moon

After talking about high resolution mapping of Ceres last week, it occurred to me that we have mapped so many distant worlds in our solar system.  We have seen moons of Jupiter and Saturn up close, completely mapped Mars, and started mapping Pluto, pushing our boundaries of exploration.  But what about our Moon? Sure the Earth-facing side has been seen in high definition.  Anyone with a small telescope and a camera can take a great photo of the Moon.  But what about the other side of the Moon, the so called dark side?

It turns out that the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), which has been orbiting the Moon since 2009, has taken a series of images of the Moon, and produced a full high-resolution map.  It’s really amazing to see the Moon fully illuminated, every crater and mare bright and visible.

It certainly makes the Moon feel like another world.  I get a strong feeling similar to what I felt when first seeing Ceres or Mars fully mapped.  Luckily the Moon is a lot closer to home and a lot easier to observe in the sky.

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