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NASA has released what is being dubbed a 4K virtual tour of the moon which allows the general public to take a peek at Earth’s natural satellite in more intricate detail than ever before.
The video was compiled from images taken by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft over a period of nine years. It follows a previously released video from NASA seven years ago and incorporates the original imagery along with newly compiled footage of the lunar surface.
Ernie Wright of NASA’s Space Visualisation Studio explained in a blog post released on the official NASA website that the tour is designed to zoom in on some interesting sites to illustrate the variety found in the lunar landscape.
He explains that some of the selected sites are on the near side of the moon and will, therefore, be very familiar to both professional and amateur astronomers, but some of the sites lie on the so-called dark side of the moon which can only be seen clearly from space.
Among the fascinating sites delved into in the course of the video is the Tycho Crater. The origins of this crater, which is estimated to be one hundred million years old, features a bizarrely placed 100-meter-wide boulder at its summit which is still a complete mystery to scientists studying the history of the moon.
The video also zooms in on the Tauruas-Littrow Valley which is notable for being deeper than the Grand Canyon. Another exceptional point of interest about the Tauruas-Littrow Valley is that it was the original site of the Apollo 17 moon landing crew. The video demonstrates the path that the astronauts followed during their three days on the lunar surface and zoomed in on the rover vehicle and the bottom half of the lunar landing which have been in place for the past forty-six years.
It has been speculated that this emphasis on the original site of the moon landing was an attempt by NASA to dispel rumours that the moon landing in 1972 was fake. However, it is unlikely that this video will be enough to remove doubt from the millions of people across the world who believe that the original NASA missions to the moon were not all that they appeared to be.