In this time of social distancing, connecting with others means more than ever. People all over the world are coming together this weekend to observe the Moon and celebrate past, present and future lunar exploration.
This weekend will be the BEST time to view the lunar landscape, because the Moon will be half illuminated in its first quarter phase. Viewers will see a stunning landscape of lunar mountains and craters along the line between light and dark – day and night on the Moon. And there’s an extra special treat this weekend: because of the Moon’s slight apparent wobble in its orbit around the Earth, we will get to peek around the edge of the Moon, glimpsing what’s usually hidden on its far side.
Through the Apollo program, humans first stepped foot on the Moon in 1969, and NASA continues to build on that legacy. NASA launched the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) in 2009, and since then it has collected more data than all other planetary science missions combined. This data helps us further examine the places the astronauts walked 50 years ago, and is paving the way for the next humans to step foot on the Moon with the Artemis program in 2024.
As we remember the past, we look towards the future with the Artemis program. NASA will land the first woman and next man on the Moon, using innovative technologies to explore more of the lunar surface than ever before. We will collaborate with our commercial and international partners and establish sustainable exploration by the end of the decade. Then, we will use what we learn on and around the Moon to take the next giant leap – sending astronauts to Mars. Our Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has been at the Moon for 11 years now, providing a wealth of data on the Moon’s resources.
Viewers can learn more about NASA lunar science and participate in International Observe the Moon Night from any location. To learn more, register participation and find recommended activities, tips and resources to host and evaluate events, and much more, viewers can visit the International Observe the Moon Night website: moon.nasa.gov/observe.