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Moon NASA Space Science

1st Video of Moon's Far Side 118

Posted by timothy
from the obviously-faked dept.
chill writes "A gravity-mapping spacecraft orbiting the moon has beamed home its first video of the lunar far side — a view people on Earth never see. Because the moon is tidally locked with Earth, it only presents one face to the planet's surface (the near side). The side of the moon that faces away from Earth is the far side. Only robotic spacecraft and Apollo astronauts who orbited the moon in the 1960s and 1970s have seen the far side of the moon directly."
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1st Video of Moon's Far Side

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  • What gives ? it's not dark - or is that because of some jedi mind trick ... [seriously cool though]
    • Re:Dark Side (Score:4, Informative)

      by FreeBSDbigot (162899) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @12:31PM (#38903411)

      Just in case you're not joking -- there is no dark side of the moon. At least, no permanent one -- of course, one side is dark at any moment, but it's constantly changing. The moon only presents one side to us earthlings, but all sides to the sun.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by rubycodez (864176)
      9. Concealed or secret; mysterious -- from the free dictionary http://www.thefreedictionary.com/dark [thefreedictionary.com]
    • by wiedzmin (1269816)
      Oh. My. God. It looks just like the other side! What a shocker :)
      • by Kenja (541830)
        I was hopping it was going to be a giant butt crack. Ah well.
      • Re:Dark Side (Score:5, Informative)

        by MBGMorden (803437) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @01:05PM (#38903901)

        Um, not it actually looks quite different. The lunar maria (the dark spots) are much less common. Reason being that those were formed by lava flows on the surface, and you can imagine that if there's molten rock inside, it would be pulled (as expected) towards a big nearby gravity well - Earth in this case.

        • Re:Dark Side (Score:5, Interesting)

          by radtea (464814) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @01:58PM (#38904571)

          Reason being that those were formed by lava flows on the surface, and you can imagine that if there's molten rock inside, it would be pulled (as expected) towards a big nearby gravity well - Earth in this case.

          The difference in surface character on the two faces of the Moon are still a matter of considerable debate, and this particular just-so story--like so much that "just makes sense"--is completely false. References can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lunar_mare [wikipedia.org]

          There was recent work published suggesting the difference in hemispheres could be due to a late, large, low-velocity impact event that happened shortly after the lunar formation impact on Earth.

          The biggest single lesson from the past 300 years of scientific discovery is that if something "just makes sense" to brains whose evolution has been driven primarily by the social processes of mate competition and mate selection then it is probably wrong. An educated person when presented with an explanation that has intuitive appeal will treat it with well-deserved suspicion until they have seen it publicly tested by systematic observation or controlled experiment (that is, scientifically validated) and not glibly repeat it as if it were knowledge rather than speculation.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            The biggest single lesson from the past 300 years of scientific discovery is that if something "just makes sense" to brains whose evolution has been driven primarily by the social processes of mate competition and mate selection then it is probably wrong. An educated person when presented with an explanation that has intuitive appeal will treat it with well-deserved suspicion until they have seen it publicly tested by systematic observation or controlled experiment (that is, scientifically validated) and not glibly repeat it as if it were knowledge rather than speculation.

            Perhaps it was your own desire to impress potential mates that led you to dedicate more of your post to tut-ting the GP rather than dealing with the topic at hand.

          • Considering this text, I can't imagine why the interest in science education is waning...

        • by drerwk (695572)

          ...and you can imagine that if there's molten rock inside, it would be pulled (as expected) towards a big nearby gravity well - Earth in this case.

          You could imagine that, but from a physical reality point of view you would be quite wrong.
          Consider the tides of Earths oceans. By your argument the whole ocean would slosh towards the Sun, including on the far side of the Earth. Please have a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Field_tidal.png [wikipedia.org]

          • by treeves (963993)

            I thought it had more do with the fact that in order for stuff to hit the "near side" it'd have to pass close by the Earth, making it less likely than hitting the "far side".

    • by Phoghat (1288088)
      Not only is it not dark, I think I can see Syd Barrett.
  • They must have cloaked it!
  • by TheGreatOrangePeel (618581) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @12:25PM (#38903355) Homepage
    The video is clearly a fake. It didn't say, "mystery science theater 3000" ANYWHERE on the surface and I think we all know how largely it's written.
  • by bigredradio (631970) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @12:28PM (#38903371) Homepage Journal
    There's no dark side of the moon really. Matter of fact it's all dark.
    • by rubycodez (864176)
      oh? when the sun is high up it's brighter than anywhere on earth.
      • by north.coaster (136450) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @12:44PM (#38903609) Homepage

        Looks like you never listened to Pink Floyd.

      • by Sockatume (732728)

        It receives more light, but it's actually a relatively dark grey colour so it's not very bright to look at. It seems bright at night, of course, but that's just because it's sunlit and everything around you isn't.

        • by Hatta (162192)

          What wavelength is dark grey light?

          • by Sockatume (732728)

            It doesn't have one. The mixture of wavelengths isn't even well-defined. It's any light with a spectrum that more-or-less evenly activates the different photoreceptors in the eye. And being "dark grey" it's of low intensity.

          • The same as regular old fashioned white light, but the contrast is just turned down a fair bit.
        • by rubycodez (864176)
          so you claim you are in darkness if you stand on a black topped parking lot in the Florida Keys at high noon on July? that's an interesting point of view. I said the Sun was brighter, lots of light there at high noon on the moon.
          • by Sockatume (732728)

            And I'm trying to avoid any confusion for people who interpret the word "bright" as appearing bright versus being well-illuminated.

          • by dudpixel (1429789)

            er, one could claim that the black topped parking lot is "dark".

            No one is claiming that it would be dark if you were standing on the moon, just that the moon itself, is a "dark" colour...

    • by cayenne8 (626475)
      "I dunno...I was really drunk at the time..."
    • by mspohr (589790)

      All that you touch
      And all that you see
      All that you taste
      All you feel
      And all that you love
      And all that you hate
      All you distrust
      All you save
      And all that you give
      And all that you deal
      And all that you buy Beg, borrow or steal
      And all you create
      And all you destroy
      And all that you do
      And all that you say
      And all that you eat
      And everyone you meet
      And all that you slight
      And everyone you fight
      And all that is now
      And all that is gone
      And all that's to come
      And everything under the sun is in tune
      But the sun is eclipsed by th

  • by Rik Sweeney (471717) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @12:31PM (#38903415) Homepage

    No hidden Nazis, Communist strike force, or Transformers.

  • Toto... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ari_j (90255) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @12:32PM (#38903419)
    I don't think we're in Kansas anymore.
    • You dolt! You missed a perfectly good opportunity to comment on the Pink Floyd references to make a very cool obscure reference less obscure. I got it though, good work, you do know what I'm talking about don't you...
  • by wisebabo (638845) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @12:33PM (#38903443) Journal

    Actually I'm almost positive that this is not the first video of the far side of the moon (and certainly not the first images, that was done by some Russian probe back in the 60s I think).

    Not only did the aforementioned Apollo astronauts take moving images (ok, maybe not technically video) of the far side during their orbits but I recall that even the recent Japanese or Chinese lunar probes were transmitting hi-def videos including (I think) a beautiful "earth-rise". Which by definition means they had to be imaging at least part of the far side.

    No, this is just the first video of the far side from GRAIL (which is pretty awesome regardless). Now there is a chance that due to the fact that GRAIL entails TWO spacecraft that one could be acting as a relay which would make this the first LIVE video from the far side. But considering the small separation distance of them (less than 100km?) I doubt it.

    • You are completely right. I have seen the videos from the Apollo program that show the far side in great detail. The far side is well mapped. This is barely news. Now maybe once we get the gravity maps and figure out where all the water is for our future moon bases, we will have some good data that's worth something.
    • by steamraven (2428480) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @12:49PM (#38903691)
      From the mission page:

      NASA's GRAIL mission has beamed back its first video of the far side of the moon. The imagery was taken on Jan. 19 by the MoonKAM aboard the mission's "Ebb" spacecraft.

      http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/grail/news/grail20120201.html [nasa.gov] (Emphasis added)

    • Yup, I remember the famous "earth rise" video taken in the early 70's by one of the Apollo missions!

    • The cameras on GRAIL were an afterthought; they are dinky, cell-phone-grade cameras so we should not be too picky. Photography was not its primary mission...
      • Today, cell phones record in HD.
        Come one, you're sending a probe to the moon and you can't afford an HD camera ? This is nuts !

        • by mbkennel (97636)

          I know the iPhone is the shiznit and all but will its camera withstand cosmic rays, van allen belts, vibration and hot-cold temperature cycles of 200 degrees C, with a probability of failure of less than 1% over a year?

  • by dr_dank (472072) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @12:35PM (#38903471) Homepage Journal

    Now we'll know exactly when to start the Wizard of Oz.

    • by N3Bruce (154308)

      When the Lion roars for the third time.
      NASA needs to do a story about Jupiter and monoliths now.

  • Somewhere, in a parallel universe where intellectuals run the world, this would be mainstream news. Everybody on Earth looks at the same side of the moon day in and day out... I find this video to be awe inspiring. Oh well.
  • Sorry, you caught me with my pants down, NASA...

  • Avoid space.com (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sirdude (578412) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @12:41PM (#38903573)

    Could everybody avoid posting links to articles on space.com? They never cite or link to sources and go overboard with interstitial, pop-up and video ads.

    Links:

  • I was told in a documentary called Iron Sky [ironsky.net] that there was a Nazi base on the other side of the moon.
  • by allcoolnameswheretak (1102727) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @12:45PM (#38903627)

    In German if someone is kinda ignorant, dumb, or stupid, they are often described as "living behind the moon."

    People tend to say that to me often. Now that I have a video of the far side of the moon, finally I will be able to prove to all the idiots that they were WRONG!

  • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdo ... g ['kis' in gap]> on Thursday February 02, 2012 @12:49PM (#38903685)

    From 2007 on YouTube [youtube.com], here is a video. Low-res, admittedly.

  • Noob Question (Score:5, Interesting)

    by OopsIDied (1764436) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @12:51PM (#38903711)

    I always wondered, are the speeds of rotation of the moon and Earth so perfectly synced that even after a long time the same side of the moon is facing us? I'd think there might be at least a little speed difference that over the years would cause our view of the moon to shift.

    • Re:Noob Question (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02, 2012 @12:57PM (#38903823)

      Yes, they are. Also, gravity (via tidal forces) ensures this will be case in the future as well, having caused it in the first place.

    • Re:Noob Question (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02, 2012 @01:00PM (#38903851)

      We're tidally locked which means at this point it's most stable for the moon to always face us. If something caused the moon to speed up its rotation a little bit, for instance, tidal locking would force it to slow back down to get back perfectly in sync with Earth. Earth is headed down the same path. I can't remember how many millions or billions of years it'll take, but eventually the Moon will slow down Earth's rotation and Earth will be tidally locked to the Moon, such that the same side of Earth will always be towards the Moon.

    • Because of libration, we can, over time, see more than 50% of the moon from Earth. But billions of years from now, not only will the moon still be locked with the Earth, but the Earth will be locked with the moon. By then it will have been engulfed by the sun, anyway.

    • by fuzzywig (208937)
      The really weird thing is that the apparent size of the moon from the surface of the earth, is almost exactly the same as the apparent size of the sun. Hence why, during eclipses, the moon fits perfectly 'over' the sun.

      As far as I know this is just luck that we're at the point in time when this is true (the moon is getting very slowly closer).

  • Cool (Score:3, Interesting)

    by eternaldoctorwho (2563923) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @12:55PM (#38903787)
    There are a klot of joking posts here, but I think this really is a cool thing. Maybe I'm biased because I just finished reading Jules Verne's Around the Moon [wikipedia.org] last night. We've certainly come a long way in understanding our nearest neighbor. In the book, it was hypothesized that the far side of the moon had retained an atmosphere and thus possibly supported life. Also, the craters were all thought to be volcanic in origin, but hey, Verne did a pretty good job all-in-all. Just about 100 years later, we did an actual moon fly-by [wikipedia.org] similar to what he has described (only in Apollo's case, it was intentional). Modern day sci-fi writers can learn a thing or two from the greats of the past.
  • Just because it's the first video of the "far side", does it have to be all grainy and short and low-res?
  • by mbone (558574) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @01:05PM (#38903895)

    Here is a Clue : It's Grail's first video, not anything like the first video.

    Never mind Luna 3 in 1959 (which was stills). Never mind Lunar Orbiter (stills) and Apollo (movies). Never mind that Clementine mapped the whole of the Far Side over a decade ago. What about Selene ? It had an HD camera, and sent back video of far side, including cool shots like this one [selene.jaxa.jp], of Malapert Mt and Shackleton Crater, at the Lunar South Pole, or this video [wn.com] of Tsiolkovsky Crater, deep into the Far Side. These videos are cool, and worth spending some time with.

  • So obviously fake! I mean, if it were real we'd be able to see the crash site of the Transformer space ship! Yet another NASA cover-up...

  • Can someone explain why it is referred to as tidal locking? I understand the physics, but the name seems like an odd choice.
    • by osu-neko (2604)

      Can someone explain why it is referred to as tidal locking? I understand the physics, but the name seems like an odd choice.

      My first temptation is to explain the physics, but you claim to already understand that. But if that were the case, you would already understand the answer to your question, too. So I'm confused about what you're actually asking. I'll simply refer you here: Tidal locking [wikipedia.org]. Once you understand what tidal locking is and how it occurs, why it's called that should be completely obvious.

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