GRAIL Sends Back First Video of the Moon’s Far Side

Article written: 1 Feb , 2012
Updated: 26 Apr , 2016

A first look from GRAIL, showing the lunar far side! A camera aboard ‘Ebb’ — one of NASA’s twin Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) lunar spacecraft has returned its first unique view of the far side of the Moon. The camera is the MoonKAM, which is part of a special program for students to study the Moon.

“The quality of the video is excellent and should energize our MoonKAM students as they prepare to explore the Moon,” said Maria Zuber, GRAIL principal investigator.

In the video, the north pole of the Moon is visible at the top of the screen as the spacecraft flies toward the lunar south pole. One of the first prominent geological features seen on the lower third of the Moon is the Mare Orientale, a 900-kilometer-wide (560-mile) impact basin that straddles both the Moon’s near and far side.

GRAIL consists of two identical spacecraft, recently named Ebb and Flow, and each are equipped with a MoonKam. The images were taken as part of a test of Ebb’s MoonKam on Jan. 19. The GRAIL project plans to test the MoonKAM aboard Flow soon.

Information on participating in the MoonKAM project.

Source: NASA

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13 Responses

  1. ollie bolz says

    why are there no stars in the background?

    • Daniel Beck says

      Because people who are smart enough to create movies like avatar, just plain old forgot to add the stars into this fake moon video… Duh…

      But seriously, Edward is correct, it is difficult to photograph stars with normal video cameras. It usually takes long exposures. Or lower light levels.

      If the camera was adjusted to see the stars, the moon would be overpoweringly white, the human eye is better at doing this in many ways than a camera. People don’t realize this.

  2. Edward Morbius says

    What are you implying?

    There’s no stars because the moon is very bright compared to the stars in the background. See, simple explanation.

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  4. Kev Girard says

    Haven’t we photographed the back side of the moon already? Yawn…

  5. david says

    This has to be the biggest joke, come on NASA…you cant expect us to believe that your grails 34 miles above the lunar surface took such crappy video….u-tube user saintsdola has 100x better footage than this, and he is filming the moon from earth!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Member
      Anonymous says

      Would this be the same saintsdola who spots shadows on the moon and decides they’re pyramids, walls, roads, tunnels, bridges, and in one case even a world trade centre?

      Yeah I think he can be dismissed.

  6. Anonymous says

    Excellent educational starter. Well stated, not over executed not overly complicated to overwhelm the students. At least they will have a good start in science and the way the scientific method works. Wish Maria Zuber was in my school when I first was learning about science in science class. I might had been even better at it!

  7. Dan Sanderson says

    Looks a lot like the near side of the moon. Was hoping for the lost super casinos and the great lunar city Lunartropolis!

  8. Miguel says

    no program! It’s all computer simulations.

Comments are closed.