For the first time, we see 'dark' side of the moon


NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has been circling the Moon for over four years, gathering data and measurements as well as photos of the lunar landscape.

The space agency has now put together those images to create a video that presents a first-ever look at the rotating Moon.

Although it doesn't look like it from Earth, the Moon actually does rotate, but we don't see it because it always has the same face pointed towards us.

The time it takes for the Moon to rotate once is 27 days, the same as the time it takes to go around the Earth.

Other than in photos -- and now this video -- the only people who've ever seen the far side of the Moon are the Apollo mission astronauts.

Science blogger Eric Berger recently wrote about how the term "dark side of the moon" is an innacurate way to think about moon, because, according to Earth & Sky, the far side, is in fact lighter than the near side.

Berger writes: The reason why has to do with volcanism — in its distant past the moon had volcano action. These dark areas, “maria,” are solidified remnants of ancient areas of magma. The lighter areas are lunar highlands. However, as it turns out, such maria cover about 30 percent of the near side but only 2 percent of the far side. Which means that when you look at a comparable image of the far side of the moon you’ll see ... that the “dark side” of the moon is in fact much lighter.

-  Joe Kelley is the morning news host for WDBO News 965 in Orlando



NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter


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