This past exhibition was on view from August 31 to December 1, 2019.
Our Moon is a surprisingly dynamic place. New impact craters are being formed. Volcanic activity, once thought long extinct, may have happened in the recent past. The crust has recently fractured from slow interior cooling and shrinking of the Moon. It may still be shrinking today.
The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft has been studying the Moon from lunar orbit since 2009. Its high-resolution imaging system, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC), has taken over a million images of the surface and revealed details never before seen. These images are providing answers to long-held questions, and raising new questions about the Moon’s ancient and recent past.
The mission was originally conceived to make measurements necessary to support future human missions to the Moon. After its first 15 months of operations, it began a mission of pure scientific exploration.
The lunar landscapes presented here are a small but magnificent sample of LROC images. They provide a glimpse of recent discoveries and reveal our nearest and most familiar celestial neighbor to be strikingly beautiful, still full of mystery, and truly amazing.
Organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service.