INTERACTIVE

Unlocking the secrets of the Moon

Unlocking the secrets of the Moon
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Early this week, a rover from China landed on the far side of the Moon, making it the first time humans have sent an autonomous vehicle there.

Even though we set foot on the Moon nearly 50 years ago, we still know so little about our nearest celestial neighbor. The last human missions ended in 1972, and while we’ve sent probes and rovers, much of the territory of the Moon remains a mystery. One of the key attractions to learning more about the moon is the possibility that what we’ve long thought was a barren rock may contain stores of water—which could be used for habitation or fuel.

Scroll below to see what we’ve been able to learn about the Moon’s water supply so far, and what we suspect lies just over a lunar ridge.

Image credits: The Moon images in the interactive were captured between 2009 and 2011 from NASA/GSFC/LROC/ASU, the tree color composite of radiation from ISRO/NASA/JPL-Caltech/Brown Univ./USGS, the higher-res images for surface ice near the poles provided by scientist Shuai Li.