Moon as you’ve never seen it: Smithsonian displays incredible HD photos

In this striking view of one of the Moon's craters, the height and sharpness of the rim are evident, as well as the crater floor's rolling hills and rugged nature. (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Arizona State University)
In this striking view of one of the Moon’s craters, the height and sharpness of the rim are evident, as well as the crater floor’s rolling hills and rugged nature. (Courtesy NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Arizona State University) (In this striking view of one of the Moon's craters, the height and sharpness of the rim are evident, as well as the crater floor's rolling hills and rugged nature. (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Arizona State University))
Sea of Tranquility is where Apollo 11 astronauts landed on the Moon in 1969. (Courtesy NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Arizona State University) (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Arizona State University)
In this view of the Moon, the South Pole is at the center. The colors represent different elevations. The large, roughly circular, low-lying area (deep blue and purple) is the South Pole–Aitken Basin, the largest and deepest impact feature on the Moon. (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Arizona State University)
In this view of the Moon, the South Pole is at the center. The colors represent different elevations. The large, roughly circular, low-lying area (deep blue and purple) is the South Pole–Aitken Basin, the largest and deepest impact feature on the Moon. (Courtesy NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Arizona State University) (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Arizona State University)
At the Moon's poles, the Sun never rises high above the horizon. Long shadows make mapping these regions difficult. (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Arizona State University)
At the Moon’s poles, the Sun never rises high above the horizon. Long shadows make mapping these regions difficult. (Courtesy NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Arizona State University) (Courtesy NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Arizona State University)
Lava flows have spread across the floor of this large collapsed area. Their lack of impact craters and steep sides show that they erupted relatively recently. (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Arizona State University)
Lava flows have spread across the floor of this large collapsed area. Their lack of impact craters and steep sides show that they erupted relatively recently. (Courtesy NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Arizona State University) (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Arizona State University)
A band of rugged mountains form a rough central peak ring in Schrödinger Basin. (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Arizona State University)
A band of rugged mountains form a rough central peak ring in Schrödinger Basin. (Courtesy NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Arizona State University) (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Arizona State University)
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In this striking view of one of the Moon's craters, the height and sharpness of the rim are evident, as well as the crater floor's rolling hills and rugged nature. (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Arizona State University)
In this view of the Moon, the South Pole is at the center. The colors represent different elevations. The large, roughly circular, low-lying area (deep blue and purple) is the South Pole–Aitken Basin, the largest and deepest impact feature on the Moon. (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Arizona State University)
At the Moon's poles, the Sun never rises high above the horizon. Long shadows make mapping these regions difficult. (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Arizona State University)
Lava flows have spread across the floor of this large collapsed area. Their lack of impact craters and steep sides show that they erupted relatively recently. (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Arizona State University)
A band of rugged mountains form a rough central peak ring in Schrödinger Basin. (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Arizona State University)

WASHINGTON — The Smithsonian has opened a new exhibit at the National Air and Space Museum featuring the highest-resolution photos of the moon that have ever been taken in orbit.

“A New Moon Rises: New Views from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera” opened Friday at the museum in D.C. and it runs through December.

“Most people do not realize that the moon is still a very active place, and that it has breathtaking landscapes that are both familiar and alien,” said Tom Watters, a scientist who has been working on the project.

The photos were taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which NASA launched in 2009 to gather data on the moon.

The show includes 61 large prints showing everything from Apollo landing sites to mountains that rise out of the darkness.

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