In addition to being a home-theater geek, I’m also a space geek. So, when I saw that NASA has released a new 4K virtual tour of the Moon on YouTube, I had to check it out right away. After all, it combines two of my favorite subjects in one spectacular package!
This 5-minute video was originally released in the fall of 2011, based on data collected by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). Now, the same tour has been re-created in 4K using the greatly expanded data collected by the LRO since then. Part of the imagery includes false-color renderings to reveal elevations, gravitational strength, and mineral composition at various locations.
According to this NASA blog, “The tour visits a number of interesting sites chosen to illustrate a variety of lunar terrain features. Some are on the near side and are familiar to both professional and amateur observers on Earth, while others can only be seen clearly from space. Some are large and old (Orientale, South Pole-Aitken), others are smaller and younger (Tycho, Aristarchus). Constantly shadowed areas near the poles are hard to photograph but easier to measure with altimetry, while several of the Apollo landing sites, all relatively near the equator, have been imaged at resolutions as high as 25 centimeters (10 inches) per pixel.
“The new tour highlights the mineral composition of the Aristarchus plateau, evidence for surface water ice in certain spots near the south pole, and the mapping of gravity in and around the Orientale basin.” Perhaps most interesting is a view of the Apollo 17 landing site and the paths the astronauts followed in their exploration of the lunar surface.
Also included in the blog are comparisons of certain images from 2011 and today, the new footage rendered without titles, and the entire original footage. It’s obvious that the 4K version is far more detailed than the rendering from over six years ago.
Check out the new video below, but for maximum impact, be sure to watch it on your large 4K/UHD home-theater display. Open the YouTube app in the TV or a 4K streamer such as the Roku Ultra and search for the title, “Tour of the Moon in 4K,” or some such. I searched for “NASA 4K Moon” and found it right away. It looks amazing on my Sony 65A1E OLED! It’s not HDR, but it is super-cool.
To paraphrase the title of a classic children’s book, hello 4K Moon!