Emily LakdawallaMar 23, 2010

What planet is THIS?

Check out this watery world! It's clearly a computer simulation of something, but of what? Can you guess?

What planet is this?
What planet is this? Simulation by Daein Ballard based on data from NASA / GSFC / ASU

Why, it's the Moon, of course. Daein Ballard created this view using the recently released Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter's Laser Altimeter data on the Moon's topography. He made a topographic Moon, vegetated its mountain peaks, flooded it with a global ocean, and threw on some clouds for good measure (the cloud patterns remind me a bit more of Venus than of Earth). I don't think there's anyone who believes that the Moon ever looked like this, but it's an enjoyably mind-bending image -- how important a little water and a little atmosphere are in changing the outward appearance of a planet!

"We're changing the world. Are you in?"
- CEO Bill Nye

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