The Moon’s a Looking-Glass
by Trent Gilliss, senior editor
Wired Science has posted some incredible images from NASA of the first complete topographic map of the moon. These magical images also serve a practical function. They create a way of seeing and analyzing the formation and development of our solar system by way of its craters. Our planet has a shared history of the moon: “Among other things, the map confirms theories of an onslaught of massive asteroids around 3.9 billion years ago that likely evaporated any water present on Earth at the time.”
There’s a lesson here too. If we point our lens at something a bit nearer to us — whether it’s an interstellar object or the neighbor next door — we just may learn something about ourselves, and our future. Or at least we’ll see new beauty in the familiar, both near and far.
In the image above, the blue area in the upper right is Oceanus Procellarum, a relatively young and less-cratered area flooded by lunar lava flows. The lunar highlands to the left are heavily cratered in comparison and the oldest region on the moon. (courtesy of NASA/LRO/LOLA/GSFC/MIT/Brown)