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A virtual tour of the Moon in 4K resolution, created with data provided by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft. As the visualization moves around the near side, far side, north and south poles, the tour highlights interesting features, sites and information gathered on the lunar terrain. (Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/David Ladd)

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has been scrutinizing nooks and crannies of the moon for nearly a decade, down to the level of mere meters.

This week NASA has relayed a kind of virtual “tour” of the moon, which has become a viral sensation online, from data still emerging from what was intended to be just a one-year mission.

The tour includes some of the most striking features of the moon, as well as the visible lander and rover left behind by the last Apollo mission to visit the lunar landscape.

This time, however, the images have never been so crisp at “4K resolution,” with some detail down to 10 inches per pixel, the space agency said this week.

The Oriental Basin is the first spot. The best-preserved impact crater on the lunar surface, its depiction is a product of both the LRO surveillance as well as gravitational measurement images from other spacecraft, according to NASA.

The South Pole and two of its features are the next stop.

Shackleton Crater is perpetually in shadow, due to the relative lack of tilt in the moon’s axis—and the temperatures inside are predicted to reach -410 degrees Fahrenheit.

The deepest, and oldest, crater on the moon is then depicted: Aitken Basin. At approximately 2,500 kilometers in diameter and a 13-km depth, it covers approximately one-quarter of the total lunar surface.

Tycho Crater, on the side of the moon facing Earth, is a relatively new structure that is also depicted. It includes hyper-detailed images of the enigmatic Central Peak, crowned by a 400-foot boulder.

Tycho Crater and Central Peak on the moon. (Credit: NASA)

The Artistarchus Plateau includes evidence of volcanic activity, and is so bright it can be seen with the naked eye from Earth.

The Apollo 17 lunar lander and rover can be seen in the Taurus-Littrow Valley. They remain from humanity’s final visit to the moon.

“These images help preserve our accomplishment of human exploration on the Moon’s surface,” the narrator states.

The North Pole is the final stop in the virtual tour, showing the gradual play of sunlight and shadow over the craggy surface.

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