An Inspirational View of the Lunar Surface

With Introduction by David A. Kring

“From the Earth to the Moon” is a brief, but vivid video and audio recording that provides an inspirational view of the lunar surface, which humans have not visited since 1972, despite being the best and most accessible place in the solar system to explore the fundamental principles of our origins. It highlights vast portions of the lunar surface that have yet to be explored; and demonstrates how new images are revealing dramatic details of future landing sites suitable for both robotic and human missions.

The scenes in the video are so dramatic that you may find yourself reaching out to pick up a rock and becoming restless to walk among the lunar peaks. We encourage you to download the HD version of the video (see link below) to fully marvel at this tour of the lunar surface.

The beautiful lunar landscapes captured in the video include exposures of the lunar crust that will reveal, if sampled by future missions, the earliest processes associated with the formation of the Earth-Moon system, the evolution of the Moon through a period with a planet-wide magma ocean, and a subsequent period of intense bombardment that repeatedly modified the surfaces of the Earth, Moon, and all other inner solar system planets. That late period of heavy impact bombardment may have been triggered by a re-arrangement of outer solar system planets.

Thus, the Moon is providing details of our own origins, the origins and evolution of all inner solar system planets, and the origin and evolution of outer solar system planets. Moreover, that period of bombardment immediately precedes the earliest isotopic evidence of life on Earth and, thus, may have been involved in the origin and early evolution of life on Earth.

Previous missions explored only a tiny portion of the Moon. And current exploration of space from the International Space Station has left us trapped in low Earth orbit. To further understand the planet-altering processes described above and to further develop the technical capabilities needed to explore space, we need to return to the lunar surface. Let’s Never Stop Exploring.

“From the Earth to the Moon” is produced from an integrated set of lunar images and topographical measurements. The video is not an animation sequence or artistic rendering of the Moon. Most of the images and topographical data were obtained by the NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), in particular, the NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) and Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) teams, and rendered by ourselves and the Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio.

Additional details about the scenes in “From the Earth to the Moon”:
The video provides views of (i) the lunar nearside, (ii) a flyover of the heavily cratered lunar highlands, (iii) Oceanus Procellarum, (iv) a zoomed-in perspective of Aristarchus crater, (v) a flight down Vallis Schröteri, (vi) an oblique perspective of Aristarchus crater, (vii) crater walls within Aristarchus, (viii) a pull away perspective of Aristarchus crater, (ix) a zoomed-in rotating view of Tycho crater, (x) flybys of five central peak features within Tycho crater, (xi) a pull away perspective of Tycho crater with distinct panels of images to illustrate a variety of spatial resolutions and albedo, (xii) a rotating view of Tycho crater from a position slightly above its rim, (xiii) a pull away perspective of Tycho crater, (xiv) rotating perspective of Orientale basin, (xv) rotating and pull away perspective from Orientale basin, (xvi) dawn rising over Tsiolkovsky crater, and (xvii) Earth rising over the lunar surface.

(Text and video courtesy of the Lunar Planetary Institute. David A. Kring leads the Center for Lunar Science and Exploration.)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *