Exploration Images
MESSENGER:  Animated gif of the October 8th 2014 lunar eclipse, taken from orbit around Mercury.  The gif shows both the Earth and the Moon, and you can see the moon fade out as it enters the Earth’s shadow.

MESSENGER: Animated gif of the October 8th 2014 lunar eclipse, taken from orbit around Mercury. The gif shows both the Earth and the Moon, and you can see the moon fade out as it enters the Earth’s shadow.

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter:  Photo looking back at the Earth, with Mars as a tiny speck in the background.  Taken May 24th 2014.

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter: Photo looking back at the Earth, with Mars as a tiny speck in the background. Taken May 24th 2014.

GRAIL:  “NASA Mission Points to Origin of ‘Ocean of Storms’ on Earth’s Moon”.

The GRAIL gravity map (right image) shows weird linear features that form a rough rectangle on the side of the moon facing the Earth.  Researchers think this complex could not have formed due to cratering, and the entire Ocean of Storms (i.e. much of the dark area visible on the Moon’s Earth-facing side) may be a volcanic feature, not a lava-filled crater as was previously thought.

Image Credit: NASA/GSFC/JPL/Colorado School of Mines/MIT

GRAIL: “NASA Mission Points to Origin of ‘Ocean of Storms’ on Earth’s Moon”.

The GRAIL gravity map (right image) shows weird linear features that form a rough rectangle on the side of the moon facing the Earth. Researchers think this complex could not have formed due to cratering, and the entire Ocean of Storms (i.e. much of the dark area visible on the Moon’s Earth-facing side) may be a volcanic feature, not a lava-filled crater as was previously thought.

Image Credit: NASA/GSFC/JPL/Colorado School of Mines/MIT

Apollo 16:  Far-ultraviolet image of the Earth, taken with a small telescope on the lunar surface.

AS16-123-19650 (21 April 1972) —- A far ultraviolet photograph reveals the geocorona, a halo of low density hydrogen which surrounds Earth. The photograph was taken by astronaut John W. Young, Apollo 16 mission commander, during the first spacewalk of his trip to the moon. Young and Charles M. Duke Jr., lunar module pilot, explored the moon’s surface while Thomas K. Mattingly II, command module pilot, remained with the Command and Service Modules (CSM) in lunar orbit. The UV camera was designed and built at the Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, D.C.

Apollo 16: Far-ultraviolet image of the Earth, taken with a small telescope on the lunar surface.

AS16-123-19650 (21 April 1972) —- A far ultraviolet photograph reveals the geocorona, a halo of low density hydrogen which surrounds Earth. The photograph was taken by astronaut John W. Young, Apollo 16 mission commander, during the first spacewalk of his trip to the moon. Young and Charles M. Duke Jr., lunar module pilot, explored the moon’s surface while Thomas K. Mattingly II, command module pilot, remained with the Command and Service Modules (CSM) in lunar orbit. The UV camera was designed and built at the Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, D.C.
Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter:  Before & after photos of a new crater on the moon.

On 11 September 2013 the “Moon Impacts Detection and Analysis System” (MIDAS) camera captured a bright 8-second long flash on the central nearside of the Moon. This was the brightest event captured so far by the MIDAS team, and they estimated that the crater should be between 46 and 56 meters in diameter. The LROC team targeted the reported coordinates (17.2°S, 339.5°E) of the flash and acquired several images over a few months until the crater was found on 13 April 2014!

Fortunately there was a NAC image of the target area acquired before the impact, so finding the new crater was relatively easy once an “after” image with comparable lighting to the “before” image was acquired. As it turns out the new crater is ~34 meters (112 feet) in diameter and is located at 17.167°S, 339.559°E, only 3 kilometers (1.9 miles) from the original telescope-based prediction. In the before-after animation you can see ejecta effects from the crater extend out more than 500 meters in all directions!

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter: Before & after photos of a new crater on the moon.

On 11 September 2013 the “Moon Impacts Detection and Analysis System” (MIDAS) camera captured a bright 8-second long flash on the central nearside of the Moon. This was the brightest event captured so far by the MIDAS team, and they estimated that the crater should be between 46 and 56 meters in diameter. The LROC team targeted the reported coordinates (17.2°S, 339.5°E) of the flash and acquired several images over a few months until the crater was found on 13 April 2014!

Fortunately there was a NAC image of the target area acquired before the impact, so finding the new crater was relatively easy once an “after” image with comparable lighting to the “before” image was acquired. As it turns out the new crater is ~34 meters (112 feet) in diameter and is located at 17.167°S, 339.559°E, only 3 kilometers (1.9 miles) from the original telescope-based prediction. In the before-after animation you can see ejecta effects from the crater extend out more than 500 meters in all directions!

The Lunar Orbiter: A Spacecraft to Advance Lunar Exploration (NASA/Boeing,1965)

“The film describes the Lunar Orbiter’s mission to photograph landing areas on the Moon. The Orbiter will be launched from Cape Kennedy using an Atlas Agena booster rocket. Once it is boosted in a trajectory toward the Moon, the Orbiter will deploy two-way earth communication antennas and solar panels for electricity. Attitude control jets will position the solar panels toward the sun and a tracker for a fix on its navigational star. The Orbiter will be put in an off-center orbit around the Moon where it will circle from four to six days. Scientists on Earth will study the effects of the Moon’s gravitational field on the spacecraft, then the orbit will be lowered to 28 miles above the Moon’s surface. Engineers will control the Orbiter manually or by computer to activate two camera lenses. The cameras will capture pictures of 12,000 square miles of lunar surface in 25 and 400 square mile increments. Pictures will be sent back to Earth using solar power to transmit electrical signals. The signals will be received by antennas at Goldstone, CA, and in Australia and Spain. Incoming photographic data will be electronically converted and processed to produce large-scale photographic images. The mission will be directed from the Space Flight Operations Facility in Pasadena, CA by NASA and Boeing engineers. After the photographic mission, the Orbiter will continue to circle the Moon providing information about micrometeoroids and radiation in the vicinity.”

New 360 degree panorama of the lunar surface, from China’s Yutu rover. A new Universe Today article gives a status update on the little rover, which is still alive, although it’s been unable to drive for quite some time now.

Arecibo radar image of lunar crater Aristillus, showing what it looks like under the surface layer of loose rocks and dust.

This radar image reveals how the lunar impact crater known as Aristillus looks beneath its cover of dust. The radar echoes reveal geologic features of the large debris field created by the force of the impact. The dark “halo” surrounding the crater is due to pulverized debris beyond the rugged, radar-bright rim deposits. The image also shows traces of lava-like features produced when lunar rock melted from the heat of the impact. The crater is approximately 34 miles in diameter and 2 miles deep.

Credit: Bruce Campbell, Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum; Arecibo/NAIC; NRAO/AUI/NSF

Arecibo radar image of lunar crater Aristillus, showing what it looks like under the surface layer of loose rocks and dust.

This radar image reveals how the lunar impact crater known as Aristillus looks beneath its cover of dust. The radar echoes reveal geologic features of the large debris field created by the force of the impact. The dark “halo” surrounding the crater is due to pulverized debris beyond the rugged, radar-bright rim deposits. The image also shows traces of lava-like features produced when lunar rock melted from the heat of the impact. The crater is approximately 34 miles in diameter and 2 miles deep.
Credit: Bruce Campbell, Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum; Arecibo/NAIC; NRAO/AUI/NSF

Vintage Soviet documentary about the Luna 9 moon landing (1966). Video caption, via Google Translate:

Moon 9 Tsentrnauchfilm 1966
February 3, 1966 automatic station “Luna-9” made soft landing near the western margin of the Ocean Storms in the vicinity of a point at 7 N, 64.5 E

Soviet newsreel clip about the Luna 9 moon probe, the first spacecraft to successfully land on the moon, in February 1966.