Visiting the Moon is an incredibly rare privilege. Just 12 people have ever been there, and your chances of joining those ranks are essentially zero. If the reality of that whole situation kind of bums you out, perhaps NASA’s brand new 4K ‘Moon Tour’ video will help fulfill your desire to visit Earth’s nearest neighbor.
The video is the result of over half a decade of high-resolution imagery gathered by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which launched back in 2009. It’s called a “tour” because it highlights a whole bunch of neat lunar landmarks, including bother natural geographic features and manmade points of interest, like the Apollo 17 landing site.
It goes without saying, but you should try to view the video on as high-resolution of a display as possible, and it looks best at its full 4K resolution. At nearly five minutes, it’s also a pretty lengthy video, and the production quality is top notch.
The video is actually an updated version of a Moon tour video that NASA first published six years ago. This time around, NASA used the wealth of data collected by the orbiter but followed the same camera path and boosted the resolution to 4K. The result is probably the most gorgeous look at the Moon that we’ve seen, and it’s available to all.
“The tour visits a number of interesting sites chosen to illustrate a variety of lunar terrain features,” Ernie Wright of NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio explains in a blog post. “Some are on the near side and are familiar to both professional and amateur observers on Earth, while others can only be seen clearly from space. Some are large and old (Orientale, South Pole-Aitken), others are smaller and younger (Tycho, Aristarchus). Constantly shadowed areas near the poles are hard to photograph but easier to measure with altimetry, while several of the Apollo landing sites, all relatively near the equator, have been imaged at resolutions as high as 25 centimeters (10 inches) per pixel.”
If you’re having a rough Monday, spend five minutes taking a little lunar vacation. You’ll be glad you did.