New lunar maps let you explore the moon from your couch
The existing lunar maps used by the US Geological Survey are two years older than I am. But thanks to the tireless efforts of NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), Earthbound astronomers can get up close and personal with our planet’s Gilligan like never before.
“These maps were designed to help both the public and scientists understand the overall appearance and topography of the moon,” USGS officials wrote in a statement. With them users can explore every square meter of the moon’s surface, poke around its numerous craters and even use them as a reference guide while stargazing.
The LRO’s wide angle camera has been snapping high-resolution images since 2009, images which have already revolutionized our understanding of the moon’s geography and history. “High-resolution images have revealed very young lunar volcanoes 10 to 100 million years old, contrary to conventional wisdom, which suggests that lunar volcanism ceased between one and two billion years ago,” LRO Camera principal investigator Mark Robinson said in the statement. You can see the images for yourself over at the USGS website.