NASA orbiter gives glimpse of moon's far side
The GRAIL mission's Ebb spacecraft took this picture of the south pole of the far side of the moon.
February 2nd, 2012
10:09 AM ET

NASA orbiter gives glimpse of moon's far side

(CNN) - A NASA orbiter has beamed back its first images of the far side of the moon, including scenes of a massive crater caused by an ancient cosmic impact, the space agency announced Wednesday.

NASA released 30 seconds of video from one of the twin probes that arrived in lunar orbit on December 31 and January 1. The Ebb orbiter passed over the moon from its north to south poles, revealing a new view of the Mare Orientale, a 560-mile basin along the border between the near and far sides of the satellite.

Also visible was the smaller Drygalski crater near the lunar south pole, which has a star-shaped peak at its center from what NASA says was a comet or asteroid impact.

Ebb and sister ship Flow are part of the space agency's GRAIL program. For 82 days, their instruments will chart the lunar gravitational field, giving scientists a peek into what goes on beneath the surface - and possibly an insight into how the Earth and its neighbors formed.

As for the "far side of the moon," as NASA says on its website, the time it takes the moon to make one rotation on its axis is the same amount of time it takes the moon to orbit around the Earth.

"So," NASA explains, "one 'side' of the moon is always facing the Earth, and the other 'side' is always facing away from the Earth."

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Filed under: In Space • News
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Mohamed

    I am now caught up, and atiwiang the latest instalments. So far this has been a lot of fun, and I'm eager to read more. “Nonsense!” Scrumtumbler waved dismissively. “We’d suffocate long before we ran out of food.”I love me some Scrumtumbler!

    April 7, 2012 at 6:43 am |
  2. garth

    it makes on revolution for every one orbit around earth so that's why we only see one side??? Do they really think that makes sense? Sorry it doesnt cause if it was rotating at all the side we see would change no matter how long it takes to orbit earth.

    February 11, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
    • bobby

      the earth rotates as well so in combination we are always revolving together in a way where we cant see one side

      February 15, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • Ramzi

      In players cterae a character and adventure through the , missions, blowing things up and , bullets, to name but a few things. Generally , if you've seen it in a matrix film chances are you can do it in the game. This is excellent news for the vast mob of people who have always wanted to experience the matrix and do their part in helping the people of Zion. Or even for those people who were secretly sympathetic to the Machines, or those who found the Merovingian charming and were secretly rooting for his Exiles throughout the film.

      April 7, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  3. norm

    The far side invisible for a long time, now is visible and may surprise humankind..... evidence of past life...???

    February 7, 2012 at 5:46 am |
  4. Kathryn (Kathy) (Bogala)

    Interesting photo! Thanks for sharing!

    February 2, 2012 at 3:17 pm |

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