A New Moon Rises:
Views from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera
Adtran, Jurenko, Thurber and Guild Galleries
May 19 – August 11, 2019
image: North Pole Topography, (detail), Courtesy NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Arizona State University.
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of man’s first step on the Moon, see Earth’s only permanent natural satellite like never before. A New Moon Rises is a traveling exhibition from the Smithsonian and features amazing, large-scale, high-resolution photographs of the lunar surface taken over the last decade. Captured by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC), the images are stunning: from historic Apollo landing sites to towering mountains rising out of the darkness of the lunar poles.
The Moon is not the same place as when astronauts last stepped foot on it. New impact craters are being formed. Volcanic activity, once thought long extinct, may have happened in the recent past. The crust has recently fractured from slow interior cooling and shrinking of the Moon and it may still be shrinking today. The LROC has taken over a million images of the surface and revealed details never before seen. These images are providing answers to long-held questions, and raising new questions about the Moon’s ancient and recent past, as well as its future.
The LROC’s mission was originally conceived to support future human missions to the Moon. After its first 15 months of operation, it began a mission of pure scientific exploration.
The lunar landscapes presented in this exhibition are a small but magnificent sample of LROC’s images. They provide a glimpse of recent discoveries and reveal our nearest and most familiar celestial neighbor to be strikingly beautiful, still full of mystery, and truly amazing. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is a cooperative effort by hundreds of people. NASA, universities, private companies, and international partners all contributed to the mission.
This exhibition is organized by the National Air and Space Museum and Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ. It is circulated by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service.