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Discovery Center to open traveling Smithsonian exhibit in August

The Discovery Center of Springfield.
Discovery Center
The Discovery Center of Springfield.

"A New Moon Rises" will feature 60 large-scale photographs taken by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter between 2009 and 2015.

The photographs were selected based on six themes: Global Views, Exploration Sites, Discoveries, Vistas, Topography, and Craters. In addition, there will be a monitor on display showing new images from the orbiter as they’re being taken.

“A New Moon Rises” opens at the discovery center on August 10 and closes on the same date in 2026.

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft was launched by NASA in 2009 and studies the moon from orbit. The LROC Narrow Angle Cameras have taken more than a million high-resolution images, according to the Discovery Center. Although originally conceived to help prepare NASA to send astronauts back to the moon, LRO's extended mission is now scientific research, exploring Earth's nearest celestial neighbor in ways never before possible, it said. For example, LROC scientists have discovered small lava flows that are evidence the moon may have been volcanically active as recently as 100 million years ago and young faults that suggest the moon is tectonically active today.

Museum officials said in a news release that the exhibit will expand the age demographic served by the Center while helping to fill a vital community need for high-quality STEM, arts and cultural education

"A New Moon Rises" was developed by the National Air and Space Museum's Center for Earth and Planetary Studies and the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University, according to the Discovery Center. The national tour is organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES).