Art Meets Science in These Stunning Close-Up Views of the Moon

This visualization depicts different close-up views of the lunar surface that capture the mood set by Claude Debussy's best-known piano piece Clair de Lune. As the Sun rises, we can see the light reaching every crater, mountain, and valley.
Close-up image of the Moon 6 photos
Photo: NASA Goddard
Close-up image of the MoonClose-up image of the MoonClose-up image of the MoonClose-up image of the MoonClose-up image of the Moon
It's hard to believe that in a few years, astronauts will set their boots on the lunar surface. With the Artemis Moon exploration program, NASA aims to establish a long-term presence on our natural satellite. Currently, the agency's Space Launch System (SLS) and the Orion capsule are waiting on the launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The Artemis I mission will have a second chance of liftoff on September 3rd. Once that happens, NASA will finally kickstart the Moon exploration program. This time, the spacecraft will not have any humans on board since the flight will be carried out to assess the capabilities of SLS and Orion.

But the Artemis II mission will be crewed. It will take astronauts on a trip around the Moon, preparing them for the third mission, which will be the one that will actually land humans on the lunar surface once more.

This visualization shows what future Artemis astronauts might witness in person. For now, we're only seeing these gorgeous views through the eyes of NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, a spacecraft that has been orbiting and mapping the satellite since 2009.

We're looking at close-up views of craters, valleys, and mountains as they're hit by sunlight. For example, toward the end of the clip released by NASA Goddard, we can see the Copernicus crater getting hit by sunlight and then slowly being engulfed by darkness when the night falls.

The extraordinary landscape seems to capture the mood of Claude Debussy's Clair de Lune (which means "moonlight" in French). Published in 1905 as the third of four pieces that form the Suite Bergamasque, the piece is slightly melancholic, embodying a sense of solitude.

But the lunar surface is expected to get more crowded toward the end of the decade. With Artemis, NASA plans to roll out a base camp near the South Pole, enabling a sustainable long-term human presence on the Moon.

If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram
About the author: Florina Spînu
Florina Spînu profile photo

Florina taught herself how to drive in a Daewoo Tico (a rebadged Suzuki Alto kei car) but her first "real car" was a VW Golf. When she’s not writing about cars, drones or aircraft, Florina likes to read anything related to space exploration and take pictures in the middle of nature.
Full profile


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories