LRO celebrates one year in orbit

Launched on 18 June 2009, Nasa’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter sent back its first images of the lunar surface shortly afterwards and has just completed its first full year in orbit.

 To celebrate Nasa has put together a short video of ten cool things its found – some of which I may have noted at the time. Image credit: Nasa/Goddard/Arizona State University. Video credit: NASA/Goddard.

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  • abucs

    It’s perplexing why the far side of the moon seems to show far more instances of clear asteroid collisions than the near side.

    I wonder how many different myths would have developed over the millenia if the other side of the moon showing the huger circular craters had been the one facing Earth?

  • Pete Baker


    Not that perplexing.

    The near side, constantly facing the Earth, would have been shielded from the majority of potential impacts.

    The far side, constantly facing away from the Earth, not so much.

  • abucs

    Yeah, i was thinking of the Moon going around the Earth facing towards the outer Solar system and then back towards the Sun in equal measure but you are right – the Earth would still be a big protecting influence and would account for the difference of the two sides.

    Any idea if there was a large asteroid impact on the Moon that was recorded in human history ?

    Although I suppose if the impact was on the far side of the Moon it might just have been seen as a hazy halo moon and the great collision would have been missed altogether.

  • Pete Baker

    No confirmed observations of large impacts on record.

    Although small impacts occur at a reasonably frequent rate.

    Here’s a Nasa press release from 2008 containing some observations on that.

    There is a recorded account in the medieval chronicles of Gervase of Canterbury of a sighting by five monks on 18 June, 1178 AD, that had been suggested might have been an account of the formation of the Giordano Bruno lunar crater. From a BBC report in 2001

    It was about an hour after sunset on June 18, AD 1178, that the group of five eyewitnesses saw the upper horn of the bright, new crescent Moon “suddenly split in two. From the midpoint of this division a flaming torch sprang up, spewing out… fire, hot coals and sparks… The body of the Moon, which was below writhed… throbbed like a wounded snake”.

    But, as the report notes, that suggestion is now discounted.

    There’s an interesting discussion, and links, here.

  • joeCanuck

    I wonder if they were the same monks who created that liqueur and had been taste testing.

  • abucs

    Mostly moonshine back then Joe. :o)

    Thanks for the links Pete. As the article says, something to think about when building those Lunar bases.

  • abucs

    Seems like a “long bow’ to me, but someone may find this interesting.

  • joeCanuck

    That is an interesting link,abucs. If there was indeed a connection between a meteorite impact on the moon and the earth’s climate, it shows how little control we may have on long term events; think global warming. A bit scary. Like the disruption caused by the Iceland volcano.

  • abucs

    Or super sun-flares or one of those BP “natural events” for which we also seem to have absolutely no control or even idea about until it’s too late.