The silvery disc of inspiration for countless philosophers and lovers also happens to be one of the great destinations in the annals of exploration. Earth's moon shines like a beacon, beckoning scientists and the simply curious. But it's been a long time since anyone has visited, and even the most basic signals from unmanned probes have been few and far between.
Unfold your maps.
With the advent of the NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), humanity makes a return to the moon like a herald announcing a new age. To commemorate the mission and champion the value of future planned lunar expeditions, the Space Agency created a new short film called RETURN TO THE MOON. Designed expressly for the Science On a Sphere platform, a striking spherical projection system now playing in theaters around the world, RETURN TO THE MOON shows off our silver sibling like a jewel of the night.
Starting with a brief historical look back at the legacy of human achievement in lunar exploration, the movie presses audiences to take stock in their own relationship to the moon. Then it takes them on a journey. Travelling along with the LRO spacecraft, viewers will discover some of the essential scientific subjects that scientists plan to study. They'll follow LRO as it makes orbits around the moon, gathering data about the surface and what may lie beneath. And then, in a dramatic demonstration of a daring part of the mission, moviegoers will witness the inventive and powerful moment when NASA engineers intentionally crash a research probe into the surface of the moon to dig beneath the top layer. The space agency calls that impact probe LCROSS, and as both a research tool and a cinematic experience, it promises to deliver something exciting.
RETURN TO THE MOON was produced by the media team at the Goddard Space Flight Center. One of NASA's premiere media teams, this group not only delivers state of the art data visualizations of ongoing research, but also helped write the book on spherical filmmaking. At its time of release, RETURN TO THE MOON was the third fully produced spherical movie from Goddard, and an exciting departure in terms of how these kind of products fuse dramatic presentational style with robust science.