National Geographic has always been at the forefront of lunar mapping. As the Apollo program closed in on its goal, cartographers relied on photos from 1966 and 1967 orbiter missions to create the February 1969 hand-painted map—considered the best reference at the time. Our newest version uses a mosaic of some 15,000 images and detailed height measurements from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has surveyed the entire surface. The moon is peppered with probes and landers, the legacy of human efforts to explore it.
Read more about past—and future—travels to the moon in our July cover story “50 years after Apollo 11, a new moon race is on.”