For the past five years, we’ve had a satellite in orbit around our moon, scouting the surface through radiation, infrared, ultraviolet, neutrons, radar, and good old-fashioned sunlight. It's all in service of a map: NASA is mapping out the most compelling scientific possibilities to explore further.
My personal favorite is Starry Night, worthy of a robotic Van Gogh. It's actually the second time that NASA has channeled the post-Impressionist painter.
It's pretty, but what are we actually looking at? From NASA:
The Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) aboard the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) sends laser pulses down to the surface of the Moon from the orbiting spacecraft. These pulses bounce off of the Moon and return to LRO, providing scientists with measurements of the distance from the spacecraft to the lunar surface. As LRO orbits the Moon, LOLA measures the shape of the lunar surface, which includes information about the Moon's surface elevations and slopes…
...This image shows the slopes found near the south pole of the Moon, poleward of 75 degrees South. The bright red to white areas have the highest slopes (25 degrees or more) while the dark blue to purple areas have the lowest slopes (5 degrees or less). The steepest slopes are found in impact crater rims, which appear as brightly colored circular features throughout the image.
Really? Because I see humankind's inner turmoil spoiling the quiet tranquility of the night sky. But that’s just me.