This is what the far side of the moon looks like
NASA has released a video showing what the far side of the moon, giving us a clear look at the side that Earth never sees, looks like.
The expression“the dark side of the moon” is common, and yet it is actually a complete misnomer. There is no dark side of the moon – outside of bad robot movies and classic rock albums, that is.
The sun shines on the entire lunar surface at one point or another, but only one side faces the Earth. The more accurate expression for the flipside of the lunar surface is the “far side of the moon,” 82-percent of which is never visible from the surface of the Earth. If you’ve ever wondered what that unseen side of the moon looks like, read on.
It wasn’t until 1959, when the Soviet Union’s Luna 3 space probe photographed it, that humanity got a look at what the far side of the moon is like. The Apollo missions to the moon later became the first and only time human eyes have seen the far side in person, but NASA has released a new video showing us what we’re missing. The footage comes to us from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.
To manage your expectations, it isn’t like the far side of the moon is covered in alien cities and purple oceans, but it does look a little different than the side we normally see.
The far side of the moon is covered in craters, more than the side facing Earth. The reason for this isn’t what you might think. The Earth protects the visible side of the moon, but only to a very minor degree – only 4 square degrees out of 41,000 are protected. The cause for the smoother look of the visible side is believed to be a result of the heat put off by the Earth during the moon’s formation.
Despite our overall unfamiliarity with the far side, scientists are very interested in it for future exploration, and possibly even colonization.
The far side of the moon is protected from radio transmissions from the Earth, which makes it the ideal spot for a future radio telescope. That side is also presumed to contain relatively high concentrations of helium-3, an isotope used in nuclear fusion reactors. The Earth protects the visible side from solar winds that contain the isotope, which has led to proposals to build a lunar base on the far side, using the isotopes as a fuel source.
So if you’ve ever wondered what the “dark side” of the moon looks like, check it out below.