The Moon Up Close, in HD

For the past two years, NASA’s Lunar Recon­nais­sance Orbiter (LRO) has been orbit­ing the Moon, gath­er­ing data that will help astro­nauts pre­pare for long-dura­tion expe­di­tions to the lunar sur­face, and even­tu­al­ly push fur­ther into the “infi­nite fron­tier of space.” (Read more about the big pic­ture plan here.)

As part of this mis­sion, the LRO has trav­eled approx­i­mate­ly 50 kilo­me­ters (31 miles) above the Moon, cre­at­ing a 3‑D map of the lunar sur­face. And now we’re receiv­ing images that show us the Moon in unprece­dent­ed detail and focus. The val­leys. The craters. The des­o­late sur­face. They’re all there, as nev­er seen before, in HD.

This strik­ing clip oth­er­wise appears in our col­lec­tion of 125 Great Sci­ence Videos.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Tour­ing the Earth from Space (in HD)

The Best of NASA Space Shut­tle Videos (1981–2010)

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.