The National Air and Space Musuem’s newest exhibition, A New Moon Rises: New Views from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera, opened today in Gallery 211.
The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) has captured dramatic landscapes of the Moon for more than six years. A New Moon Rises showcases “those breathtaking images from Apollo landing sites to majestic mountains that rise out of the darkness of the lunar poles.” The 61 large prints presented in this exhibition reveal a celestial neighbor that is “surprisingly dynamic, full of grandeur and wonder.” They reveal newly formed impact craters, recent volcanic activity and a crust being fractured by shrinking of a still cooling interior. The exhibition also includes a display of spare cameras and a large 3-D model of a young lunar crater.
“Most people do not realize that the moon is still a very active place, and that it has breathtaking landscapes that are both familiar and alien,” said Tom Watters, senior scientist at the museum’s Center for Earth and Planetary Studies and curator of the exhibition in Washington.
The exhibit is divided into six themes:
- Global Views
- Exploration Sites
These themes helped to determine which of the thousands of images taken by the LROC would be chosen for display.
Visitors also have the opportunity to see new images from LROC projected on a large screen, and these images will be updated daily, while a companion online exhibition displays images from all six themes, as well as additional resources from NASA.
Mark Robinson, professor and principal investigator of LROC at ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration, partnered with National Air and Space Museum staff members to make the exhibit possible. Robinson’s team includes undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral students with backgrounds in science, engineering and IT. It is this combination of skill sets and talent that are needed to operate LROC’s high-resolution Narrow Angle Camera and lower-resolution Wide Angle Camera and to produce the images featured in this exhibition.
“To me the LROC images reveal the moon to be a mysterious and beautiful place — a whole world just three days away,” said Mark Robinson, LROC instrument principal investigator at Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ. “It is my hope that visitors will walk away from the show excited about the moon.”
Launched on June 18, 2009, LRO has collected a treasure trove of data with its seven powerful instruments, making an invaluable contribution to our knowledge about the moon. Part of its primary mission was to help prepare NASA to send astronauts back to the moon. Its other mission is scientific research, exploring our nearest celestial neighbor in ways never before possible. LRO is managed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
“The lunar landscape is truly spectacular, and it’s gratifying to know that this exhibit will bring new views of the moon to the huge audience that visits NASM every year,” said John Keller, LRO project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD.
The exhibition is supported by NASA and Arizona State University and will be open through December 2016.
- Opening: Friday, February 26
- Hours: 10:00 am to 5:30 pm every day (closed Dec. 25)
- Admission: Free
- Location: National Air and Space Museum, Independence Ave at 6th St, SW, Washington, DC
- For further information: http://airandspace.si.edu/exhibitions/lroc/
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