NASA has released the first ever video that depicts the far side of the moon.
The stunning footage was captured by a camera onboard one of NASA's twin Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) lunar spacecraft. MoonKAM or Moon Knowledge Acquired by middle school students will be employed by students across the U.S. to select images of the moon for their study.
GRAIL has two identical spacecraft - Ebb and Flow - each of which is equipped with a MoonKAM. The new footage was captured by Ebb and is accompanied by the voice of Maria Zuber, GRAIL's principal investigator.
The footage starts depicting the north pole of the moon as the spacecraft moves to the south pole. It also shows Mare Orientale, a 560 mile-wide (900 kilometer) impact basin that straddles both the moon's near and far side.
Another features depicted in the footage include a rugged terrain close to the lunar south pole, and the 93-mile-wide Drygalski crater with a unique star-shaped formation in the middle.
Zuber said: The quality of the video is excellent and should energize our MoonKAM students as they prepare to explore the moon. Sally Ride, America's first woman in space, leads the MoonKAM program.
Ebb and Flow aim to probe some pertinent questions about the moon and give scientists a better idea of how Earth and other rocky planets in the solar system formed. The dual mission was launched in 2011.