NASA’s virtual tour of the moon in 4K will blow your mind

The moon can look spectacular enough from here on Earth, but a just-posted NASA video showing the lunar surface in amazing close-up detail is also certain to take your breath away.

Billed as a “virtual tour of the moon” in glorious 4K, the incredible imagery has been collected by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft over the last nine years.

“The tour visits a number of interesting sites chosen to illustrate a variety of lunar terrain features,” Ernie Wright of NASA’s Space Visualization Studio explained in a blog post. “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.”

Wright notes how this latest video is an updated version of one released in 2011. While the camera path is the same, the data collected in the intervening years has enabled the space agency to create a far more visually stunning and detailed presentation.

The footage shows us a number of the moon’s physical features, occasionally mixing them with splashes of color that highlight other data that’s sure to fascinate any armchair astronomers tuning in. The fly-by of the South Pole-Aitken basin, for example, adds elevation data so we can clearly see its location. With a diameter of around 1,550 miles (2,500 km) and a depth of 8 miles (12 km), this is the largest and oldest recognized impact basin on the moon and covers almost a quarter of its surface.

Check out, too, the amazing detail captured in the imagery of Tycho Crater, said to be around 100 million years old. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, the camera zooms in even further, still in great detail, to focus on Tycho Crater’s intriguing central peak with a 100-meter-wide bolder at the summit, “the origins of which are still a mystery,” the video’s narrator says.

We’re also taken to the Apollo 17 landing site in Taurus-Littrow Valley, which we’re told is deeper than the Grand Canyon. Another overlay shows us the path the astronauts took during their three days on the lunar surface in 1972. You can even see the bottom half of the mission’s lunar lander and rover vehicle, where they’ve remained untouched for the last 46 years.

The U.S. and other countries appear to be once again taking a serious interest in the moon with various manned and unmanned missions under discussion, while private space company SpaceX is believed to be making plans to send two “tourists” on a weeklong trip around the moon.

The rest of us can continue to enjoy its splendor by gazing at it from here on Earth, though this wonderful new NASA video is definitely worth your time, too.

Emerging Tech

Toyota shoots for the moon with its new lunar rover concept

Toyota announced it will be teaming up with the Japanese space agency to design and built a lunar rover. The two organizations aim to collaborate to create a manned, pressurized rover that would be suitable for mobility on the moon.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Movies & TV

Stay inside this winter with the best shows on Hulu, including 'Legion'

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix right now (March 2019)

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Photography

Amid confusion, the Red Hydrogen team promises a pro in-device camera

Learning from the Red Hydrogen One, the company is gearing up for a pro-level device. In a forum post, Red's founder shares how the team is designing a Red Hydrogen with a pro-level in-device camera.
Photography

Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 is sharp enough to handle futuristic 90-megapixel cameras

Lens launches come with a lot of hype and marketing speak but a recent test confirmed some of the initial claims around the Sony FE 135 f/1.8. A rental company says that the Sony 135mm is the sharpest lens that it has ever tested.
Photography

Forget folding phones, the Insta360 EVO camera folds in half to shoot 360 video

The Insta360 EVO is a...flip camera? Unfolded, the Insta360 Evo shoots 3D in 180 degrees, folded, the new camera shoots in 360 degrees. The EVO launches with what are essentially a pair of 3D glasses for your phone, not your face, the…
Photography

Obsbot Tail camera uses A.I. to follow the action (or a pet) for you

Want to capture more epic action selfies, or see what your pet is doing while you're gone? The Obsbot Tail is a camera-gimbal combo that uses artificial intelligence to follow the action.
Social Media

Twitter takes a cue from Instagram and Snapchat with new quick-swipe camera

Twitter is giving the "what's happening" treatment to photos and video by allowing users to access the in-app camera fast enough to catch and share the moment. The new Twitter camera is now accessible with a swipe.
Photography

The Lensbaby Composer Pro II with Edge 35 mimics tilt-shift blur for less cash

Want to create a tilt-shift image on a budget? The new Lensbaby Composer II with Edge 35 mimics the look of a tilt-shift lens for under $500. The new Edge 35 optic is part of the Composer Pro II optics system.
Photography

Loupedeck Plus can now edit video, audio with Final Cut Pro

The list of Loupedeck Plus-compatible software is growing. The photo-editing console now works with Final Cut Pro and Adobe Audition for video and audio editing. The controls can be configured to be used on either platform.
Photography

Photography News: Taking a smartphone photo probably saved this guy’s life

A man was snapping a photo in Australia when the smartphone stopped an arrow shot at his face. In this week's photography news, see Canon's plans for a stabilized mirrorless, Hasselblad's newest accessories, Samyang's latest lens, and more.
Deals

The best budget-friendly GoPro alternatives that won’t leave you broke

Cold weather is here, and a good action camera is the perfect way to record all your adventures. You don't need to shell out the big bucks for a GoPro: Check out these great GoPro alternatives, including some 4K cameras, that won’t leave…
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Write music with your voice, make homemade cheese

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!