Jul 23, 2019 | Updated: 09:13 AM EDT

What Lies On the 'Dark Side' of the Moon?

Feb 10, 2015 12:54 PM EST

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Moon Phases
(Photo : NASA/Goddard)

The recent full moon isn't the only lunar news to come out of the woodworks this week. It appears that its hidden face is also making headlines here on Earth too. Though historically shrouded in mystery, even with NASA astronauts and other space agencies touching down on the surface of the moon, it appears that researchers are now able to reveal what lies on the "dark side" of the moon thanks to five years of mapping data collected courtesy of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.

In a new video posted by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, one of the space agencies major research laboratories, viewers are able to see exactly what how the dark side of the moon differs from the illuminated face that we see here on Earth and it reveals that the "dark side" isn't always as dark as we might perceive. Utilizing a computer-generated time-lapse from two different vantage points, the video reveals the 27 day lunar cycle from the other side of the moon, with the Earth spinning in the background.

"Before the space age, no one knew what was on the other side of the moon" narrator and NASA spokesperson says in the new film. "Since 2009 the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has been making some of the most detailed global maps of the moon's surface, making it much easier for everyone to see what it's like on the other side."

Throughout the course of the average lunar cycle, the perspective from Earth allows us to view roughly 59 percent of the natural satellite's surface. But it's the remaining 41 percent, dubbed the "dark side" of the moon, that researchers have come to know little about. Compounding data collected over the course of several years, NASA researchers at the Goddard Space Flight Center were able to develop a computer-generated time-lapse that reveals that the "dark side" may not be as dark as we had originally thought.

In fact, not only does the other side of the moon go through a similar waning and waxing cycle as the face which we see, but it turns out that the surface of the back side of the moon is actually lighter, as well. Lacking the dark spots originally believed to be lunar seas, the dark volcanic plains named "maria" that cover the light side of the moon leave the "dark side" of the moon a glaring white surface.

Check out the video for yourself and let us know what you think about the dark side of the moon. Is there more than meets the eye?

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