23/11/2011 06:30 GMT | Updated 23/01/2012 05:12 GMT

Once In A Blue, Red, Yellow, Green 3D Moon

This strikingly colourful 3D image of the moon has dramatically changed how scientists interpret the moon's surface.

This Nasa image shows the troughs and peaks of the far side of the moon, captured by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and is the highest resolution map of the moon ever created.

Mark Robinson, Principal Investigator of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) from Arizona State University in Tempe, said: “Our new topographic view of the moon provides the dataset that lunar scientists have waited for since the Apollo era,”

“We can now determine slopes of all major geologic terrains on the moon at 100 meter scale. Determine how the crust has deformed, better understand impact crater mechanics, investigate the nature of volcanic features, and better plan future robotic and human missions to the moon.”

The near-global topographic map covers almost all of the moon, 98.2% in fact, reaching from 79°S to 79°N.

The image makes the south pole appear deep, or below sea level in earth terms. That appearance is caused by persistent shadows near the poles, which stopped LROC from accurately scanning there.

One pixel on the map is equivalent to 100 meters on the moon's surface, or the length of two standard football pitches laid end to end.