LRO Sent Back its First Lunar Image

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) has sent back its first lunar image. Take a look…

LRO-1st-Image-Top

LRO-1st-Image-Mid

These images show cratered regions near the moon’s Mare Nubium region, as photographed by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter’s LROC instrument. Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University.

Wow! Just look at the details… it’s just as if you are on a plane flying over the lunar landscape! Each image above shows a region only 1400 m wide (meaning you can – if you can – walk from one side of the image to the other in less than half an hour)! And details as small as 3 m wide can be resolved. Beautiful!

When looking at these images, something flashed through my mind… once upon a time, we believed that the Moon is a perfectly smooth sphere (because everything in the heaven must be perfect). Then exactly 400 years ago, when Galileo first pointed his telescope to the Moon, we realised that the Moon is not as smooth as it was thought to be. It is rough, a landscape full of craters, mountains and valleys.

Then 40 years ago, mankind first step foot on the Moon, return kilograms upon kilograms of lunar rock for analysis. Since then, lots of spacecrafts have been sent there, each with a specific mission to either map the Moon, to analyse its chemical composition, to understand its geology and geophysics or to answer the question of its origin.

And today, we are back to the Moon again, with a spacecraft identifying safe landing sites for future explorers, paving the way for the return of mankind to the Moon again.

It’s our curiosity, our determination and our advancement of knowledge in science and technology that’s making all these possible. I’m just wondering, will the colonisation of the Moon happen within my lifetime? Will I be part of mankind’s history to witness this great achievement? We shall wait and see…

Source: LRO site

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~ by thChieh on July 5, 2009.

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