Released on August 27, 2007
NASA's next moon mission, the Lunar Reconaissance Orbiter (LRO), will pave the way for future lunar missions by taking high resolution data of the entire lunar body. This animation zooms into one region of high interest, the lunar south pole, as seen by the 1994 Clementine mission. The possibility of frozen water is one of many reasons NASA is interested in this potential landing site. However, many of the craters in this area where frozen water sources are most likely to be found are in constant shadow which inhibited Clementine's ability to see into these craters. These shadows are the very dark areas at the poles center as seen in this animation, and one of the moon's secrets on which LRO should shed some light.
This animation starts with a computer generated unveiling of the Clementine lunar data (not taking into account the moon's libration as viewed from Earth), and then tilts upward to reveal the lunar south pole.