Witness the Moon's breathtaking 4.5-billion-year evolution in less than three minutes

When we gaze up at the Moon, we expect a certain degree of consistency. Sure, it moves through its phases, shifting in and out of darkness over the course of the month, but generally speaking, the Moon's surface looks the same to us — night after night, year after year. But the Moon has not always looked the way it does now.

In the last 4.5 billion years, the Moon has transformed from a roiling mass of ejected terrestrial matter, to an unblemished orb, to the heavily cratered, volcanic-crust laden entity we know and love today. We know these things occurred because the Moon's surface features tell a story, and for close to three years now, NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has been getting an up close look at what those features have to say.


Now, the folks at NASA's Goddard Multimedia team have used the latest data on the Moon's history, acquired by LRO, to packr 4.5 billion years of lunar evolution into the stunning video you see up top.

This is the latest in a series of really beautiful work from the Goddard Visualization Studio. You can check our more of their work over at the Goddard Space Flight Center website.

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sidestepper - the fist of fate

I'm disappointed that they didn't deal with the actual "birth" of the moon. I wanted to see the Mars size body slam into the earth, etc. And now they're talking about how some other largish body — like a second smaller moon — glommed onto it and formed the backside highlands.

Maybe that's not all really accepted yet.

BTW, Backside Highlands will be my new band name.