“A New Moon Rises” – An exhibition of HD images of the lunar surface

NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has been circling the Moon since June 2009 and has been imaging the lunar surface at much higher resolution than obtained during previous missions going back to the Apollo era. The images can be quite spectacular and some of the most striking are currently on display in an exhibition called A New Moon Rises at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. Here is a report on the show: Desolate magnificence – The Space Review.

Below is a sampling of the CratersVistas, and Major Discoveries on display:

The image below shows “A Very Young Crater”  with [spectacular] ejecta surround it. The crater is

about 1,400 meters (4,600 feet) across. Since there are no superimposed impact craters on the ejecta, and the delicate lacy impact spray is still preserved near the rim, this crater formed very recently, perhaps sometime in the past few thousand years.

Young Impact Crater - 11865p

Below are two “Copernican Craters” that have

… large, spectacular ejecta patterns of bright material thrown across the Moon’s surface. These craters are no more than 1 billion years old—”Copernican age” in the lunar geologic timescale. Because they are so bright and have few impact craters on them, they may be as young as a few million years. Each is incredibly well preserved: crisp crater rims, steep crater walls, and delicate small-scale ejecta patterns. The overhead sunlight highlights the brightness variations.

Copernican Crater - 11863p

Copernican Crater - 11864p

The lunar feature below is titled, “The Strangest of Swirls”

Reiner Gamma is one of the Moon’s most distinctive and mysterious features. This striking, tadpole-shaped swirl puzzles lunar scientists. Some think that its origin, as with other swirls, is somehow related to the shielding effects of localized magnetic field anomalies.

Reiner Gamma-11843p

The images below

…, taken at different times, reveal that a cave extends at least 25 meters (82 feet) under the surface of the Moon. Collapse pits, where the near-surface lunar crust has caved in, can provide a window into the shallow subsurface. Image IDs: M126710873R, M155016845R, M152662021R


Here is an entertaining video about how the LRO is operated: