Pictures of the dark side of the Moon
The Moon is the planetary body closer to the Earth, the most celebrated by the poets, the one better observed by scientists. Yet since the Soviet probe missions Moon 3 (in 1959) and Zond 3 (1965) and then the US human missions Apollo 8 (1968), Apollo 10 (1969) and Apollo 17 (1972) we’d never seen its hidden face, the “dark side of the Moon” to quote the Pink Floyd.
Mysterious dark side of the Moon
When Apollo Program ended, Nasa kept regularly sending probes in orbit around the Moon and shot breathtaking photos and a complete map both of the Near Side both of the Far Side of the Moon, where already in the Seventies there was the idea to set up a Moon base in the future to ease the observation of the universe away from the Earth influence.
Compared to the side that all of us are used to see, the Far Side of the Moon is rougher, with a higher number of craters and much less lunar maria, moreover small-scale, compared to those that you can observe even with the naked eye on the Near Side of the Moon, so that only 2,5% of the surface of the Far Side is covered by maria compared to 31,2% on the Near Side.
Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter images
The most recent images of the dark side of the Moon were taken by the US probe LRO or Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (this is the link if you like to further investigate mission characteritistics: www.nasa.gov/mission_pages...). What is not well known is that in 1958 the United States Air Force developed Project A119 to detonate a nuclear bomb on the Moon, after some sources referred even Ussr was planning a similar mission.
The existence of the project, which involved a young Carl Sagan, came up only in 2000, but the United States have still not officially recognized their involvement in the study, which fortunately was called off in 1959 and de facto is not coinceivable anymore, less Donald Trump decide to cancel all nuclear disarmament treaties, including the one regarding extra-atmospheric space signed since 1967. We can therefore continue to enjoy the sight of the Moon without fear any radioactive pollution of our satellite.