Lights on the Dark Side

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The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency has released the videos taken by the high-definition camera aboard its Kaguya lunar orbiter. This one is a flyover of a region called Mare Ingenii, or “Sea of Cleverness”, a rare lava flow area on the moon’s far side. The far side permanently faces away from the Earth and so has many more craters and rough terrain than the side we’re used to seeing, which features many larger mare regions.

The smoother, darker basaltic lava flow material in the basin is younger than the surrounding lunar landscape…only about 3.5 billion years old as compared to over 4 billion years old!

The path of the Kaguya probe takes it over the Obruchev crater and then the Thomson crater, two major features of the Mare Ingenii region, at an altitude of about 62 miles. Its high-definition camera is capable of recording amazingly sharp and detailed video of the lunar surface during its passes.

Video source: Source: Website of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)