That’s some moon

On 18 June 2009, NASA launched the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) to map the surface of the Moon. Since then it’s brought back some spectacular images thanks to its cameras including the Apollo landing sites.

In December 2011 the orbiter was put into an elliptical orbit with the  periapsis (point where the LRO is closest to the surface) near the south pole, and the apoapsis (point where LRO is furthest from the surface) near the north pole.
This allowed the LROC (Lunar Reconnaissance orbiter cameras) to take extensive and highly detailed images of the northern hemisphere of the Moon, from 60°N latitude to the pole itself, and came up with this:

You saw the whole of the moon

Now that’s some detail, but wait, it gets better.
Now the LROC are clearly able to pick up something as small as a lunar rover and the trails from the astronauts in pretty good detail considering the height of the orbiter. So what happens when you use them on nearly half the moon?

You end up with a 931,070 x 931,070 image of the moon. It contains 681 BILLION pixels
The LROC Northern Polar Mosaic (LNPM) is likely one of the world’s largest image mosaics in existence, or at least publicly available on the web, with over 680 gigapixels of valid image data covering a region of the Moon (2.54 million km², 0.98 million miles²) slightly larger than the combined area of Alaska (1.72 million km²) and Texas (0.70 million km²) — at a resolution of 2 meters per pixel!

You can explore it over at the LROC site here.


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