48 Years Ago Today: The First Image from the Moon

On this day in 1966, the Soviet Luna 9 spacecraft made the first successful soft landing on the Moon and, 7 hours later, transmitted its first images of the lunar surface back to Earth. The image above is the Luna 9 lander’s first view. It was the very first time we had ever seen images…

This Day in Space History: One Small Step

Note: Reposted/updated article from 2012. “That’s one small step for a man… one giant leap for mankind.” I’m not sure what else need be said about the significance of what happened on this day in 1969, 44 years ago… it was a shining moment in human history, and will be — should be — remembered…

This Day in Space History: One Small Step

“That’s one small step for a man… one giant leap for mankind.” I’m not sure what else need be said about the significance of what happened on this day in 1969, 43 years ago… it was a shining moment in human history, and will be — should be — remembered forever as an example of…

Annular Eclipse Seen From The Moon

The May 20 annular eclipse may have been an awesome sight for skywatchers across many parts of the Earth, but it was also being viewed by a robotic explorer around the Moon! During the event NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter turned its camera to look back home, acquiring several images of the Earth with the Moon’s…

Signs of Surprisingly Recent Volcanic Activity in Tycho

A team of researchers at India’s Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) claims it has found evidence of relatively recent volcanic activity on the Moon, using data from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and the Chadrayaan-1 spacecraft. According to the findings the central peak of Tycho crater contains features that are volcanic in origin, indicating that the Moon was geologically…

Good Librations!

As the Moon orbits Earth, it rotates at such a rate as to keep the same face aiming our way… but not exactly the same face, as shown in this excellent video from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (lovingly annotated by the Bad Astronomer himself, Dr. Phil Plait.) The Moon has a slight wobble to its axial…

NASA Satellite Spots Creepy Face on the Moon

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) acquired an image of the interior of Schiller crater on the Moon and this grumpy-looking boulder was found within by a Moon Zoo member. Just what is it, and what could have created it? Read more here!

The Gift of Apollo

Just watch this: “Once upon a time we soared into the Solar System, for a few years… then we hurried back. Why? What happened? What was Apollo really about?”  – Carl Edward Sagan, 1934–1996 Nothing more need be said.

Rolling Stones in the Lake of Death

No, it’s not the title of a B-movie starring Keith Richards, it’s an image of lunar boulders resting in a line within a valley on the Moon. This valley, located in the central peak of Bürg crater, is filled with boulders ranging up to 70 feet across that have rolled downhill from either side. The…

Granular Flows in a Copernican Crater

Sometimes flows of material on the Moon are made of light-colored material, sometimes they’re made of dark-colored material. This is definitely an example of the latter! This is a small portion of a Narrow-Angle Camera image taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, showing detail of “low-reflectance” granular material sliding down the wall of a crater…

July 31: Birthday for Lunar Images!

On this day in 1964 NASA’s Ranger 7 became the first US spacecraft to capture close-up images of the Moon’s surface. The first image, shown here, was 1,000 times clearer than anything ever previously seen. The spacecraft, launched on July 28, 1964, arrived at the Moon three days later and turned on its cameras 17 minutes…

One Year of Moon

Can’t see the video below? Click here. This awesome animation by the visualization folks at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center shows the phases and position of the Moon throughout 2011 – a full year of the Moon compressed into 2.5 minutes! What’s really interesting is how you can see the wobble of the Moon in…