Explore how a NASA orbiter searches for new craters on the moon.
When humans colonize the moon—or at least send astronauts or robots to work on it—they will want to know how often space rocks crash into its surface and how big the resulting craters are formed and where. To understand the rate and size of such impact events, scientists have been exploring lunar terrain with a series of high-resolution and UV-sensing cameras from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) since 2009. As the spacecraft swoops around the moon, it snaps images of the surface and sends them back to Earth so scientists can scan for new craters. Over the past six years, LRO has detected hundreds of changes on the moon’s surface and identified more than two dozen new impact craters, including a 60-foot in diameter crater that formed on March 17, 2013. Watch the video to learn more.