NASA's new topographic map of the Moon lets us get a better sense of our nearest satellite's features in a startlingly new light.
The impressive map, which was created in-part by a team of astronomers from Arizona State University, uses data from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft (top image). It's said to be the highest-resolution, near-global topographic image of our lunar satellite to ever exist.
NASA's LRO spacecraft began its mission in 2009, and has since provided researchers with over 192 terabytes of data - some of which went toward creating this map. There is room for improvement, of course: NASA pointed out that it will be add in more detail over time to enhance the sharpness of the image, and to fill in any small gaps that exist in the current offering.
The above map, dubbed the 'Global Lunar DTM 100 m topographic model' (GLD100) highlights the topography of our neighbouring rock at a scale close to 100m per pixel. The white areas on the map represent the highest points of the Moon's surface, whereas the blue and purple areas mark the lowest, deepest points.
Mark Robinson, the Principal Investigator of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) at the Arizona State University said the GLD100 map provides "the dataset that lunar scientists have waited for since the Apollo era".
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