NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) has been circling the Moon for over years, gathering an unprecedented amount of data about our nearest neighbour.
Amongst its many science gathering tasks, the LRO has been taking pictures of the entire lunar surface, and NASA recently stitched all of them together to create a fascinating video of a rotating moon.
The Moon is ‘tidally locked‘ to the Earth, so that is always has one face pointed towards even though it does in fact rotate.
Check out the video below (I recommend going full screen to appreciate its full beauty)
And here’s NASA’s super-spoddy explanation about how it was done.
A huge payoff from the longevity of the LRO mission is the repeat coverage obtained by the LROC Wide Angle Camera (WAC). The WAC has a very wide field-of-view (FOV), 90° in monochrome mode and 60° in multispectral mode, hence its name. On the one hand, the wide FOV enables orbit-to-orbit stereo, which allowed LROC team members at the DLR to create the unprecedented 100 meter scale near-global (0° to 360° longitude and 80°S to 80°N latitude) topographic map of the Moon (the GLD100)!