An animation produced by a NASA team shows what Earth would look like from the Moon’s south pole. Specifically, it shows the “unusual” movements of the Earth and Sun as seen from the region, and it compresses three months (just over three lunar days) into two minutes.
The Virtual Camera sits on the edge of Shackleton Crater, partially visible in the lower right corner, and points toward Earth. The mountain, located on the horizon about 136 km away, is officially known as Mons Malapert.
At the Moon’s south pole, the Sun appears to rotate around the horizon, never more than 1.5 degrees up or down, while the Earth swings up and down, never deviating from 0.° of longitude. Our planet also appears to be turning upside down and upside down. The Sun’s continual low angle produces extremely long shadows that dance across the rugged terrain, increasing its relief.
During the second month of viewing (1 minute in the video), Earth passes in front of the Sun, causing an eclipse. For Earth observers, this is a lunar eclipse, in which the Moon passes through the shadow cast by the Earth. Viewed from the Moon, however, it is a solar eclipse.
The Moon’s South Pole has never been visited by humans, but it is the intended landing site for the Artemis 3 mission, which is expected to return astronauts to our satellite for the first time since Apollo 17, 52 years ago.
It is currently scheduled for September 2024, but the postponement will not come as a surprise given the current progress of the programme. The first mission, Artemis 1, has been postponed from October this year to February 2022, and there are reports of difficulties developing the space suits needed for subsequent manned missions.
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