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21 Feb

First Photos From NASA's LADEE Reveal Incredible Close-Up Of The Moon

The first images from NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) observatory have arrived on Earth.

The photos, presented in gif format by NASA, reveal stunning close-up shots of the rock more than 230,000 miles from Earth.

Butler Hine, LADEE project manager at NASA's Ames Research Center, praised the observatory's star tracker cameras for providing "exciting glimpses of the lunar terrain."

Taken Feb. 8, 2014, the images were captured at one-minute intervals and show terrain in the moon's northwest hemisphere.

From NASA:

"The initial image captured the smooth-floored crater Krieger, about 14 miles (23 km) in diameter, on the horizon, with four mile (seven km) wide Toscanelli, in the foreground.

The second image shows Wollaston P, about two-and-a-half miles (4 km) diameter, near the horizon, and the southeastern flank of the lunar mountain Mons Herodotus.

The third image caught a minor lunar mountain range, Montes Agricola, which is northwest of the large bright crater Aristarchus (out of view), as well as the flat-floored crater Raman, about six miles (10 km) diameter. 

Image four in the series captures Golgi, about four miles (6 km) in diameter, and three-mile-wide (5 km) Zinner.

The final image views craters Lichtenberg A and Schiaparelli E in the smooth mare basalt plains of Western Oceanus Procellarum, west of the Aristarchus plateau."

The LADEE spacecraft is about the size of a couch and will end its mission on April 21, 2014, by crashing into the surface of the moon.

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Image via NASA Ames

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