On 18 June 2009, NASA launched the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) from Cape Canaveral to conduct investigations that would pave the way for future lunar exploration. The main objectives? To scout for safe and productive landing sites, locate potential resources (with special attention to the possibility of water ice) and characterize the effects of prolonged exposure to lunar radiation. All along, the LRO has collected scientific data about the moon’s topography and composition, resulting in some of the most spectacular images ever taken of the moon. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center has assembled some of these images into a wonderful animated tour of the moon. A high-resolution version can be downloaded here.
Bonus: Click through the images from the LRO camera or follow the LRO on Twitter.
By profession, Matthias Rascher teaches English and History at a High School in northern Bavaria, Germany. In his free time he scours the web for good links and posts the best finds on Twitter.