Lunar Topography in Natural Color
An updated version of this animation is available here.
This animation is a brief tour of several prominent features of the Moon's terrain: Tycho crater, the south pole, and the South Pole-Aitken basin. It is match-moved to a companion piece showing the terrain elevations in false color.
The surface appearance is derived from photographs taken by the Clementine spacecraft. Although it shows the visible surface in natural color, this animation does not depict realistic sunlight and shadows. This is especially significant near the poles, where certain parts of the terrain can be in permanent shadow and would never be fully visible in the manner depicted here.
The South Pole-Aitken basin, the large, dark patch centered in the image, is roughly 2100 kilometers (1300 miles) wide and 10 kilometers (6 miles) deep, perhaps the largest impact feature in the solar system. It lies on the far side of the Moon, the hemisphere never visible from Earth, and was found only after spacecraft began visiting the Moon in the 1960s.
For More Information
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio. Some elevation data provided by JAXA/SELENE.
TapesThis visualization originally appeared on the following tapes:
LRO Pre-Launch Resource Tape
Tuesday, April 7, 2009 at 4:00AM
Produced by - Andy Acuna
Datasets used in this visualization
KAGUYA DEM (Collected with the Laser Altimeter (LALT) sensor)
Formerly known as "SELENE".See more visualizations using this data set
Margot et al.
Dataset can be found at: http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?arnumber=00841991See more visualizations using this data set
ULCN 2005 (A.K.A. Unified Lunar Control Network 2005)
The ULCN 2005 (Unified Lunar Control Network 2005) is a lunar control point network that precisely measured 272,931 pieces of data produced by the USGS using existing lunar imagery or data from the Clementine and other observations.See more visualizations using this data set
Note: While we identify the data sets used in these visualizations, we do not store any further details, nor the data sets themselves on our site.