We never see the far side of the Moon. Do you think it looks identical to the near side that we do see?
On October 4, 1959, Russia’s Luna 3 was launched towards the Moon, where it later became the first vehicle to send back images of the Moon’s far side.
The distant hemisphere looked entirely different: Instead of the large dark lava spots that we see on the “near side,” the far side has many craters—scars received during its first few hundred million years of life.
The Dark Side?
There is no continually dark “side” of the Moon. Every part of the Moon has both day and night in half–month intervals. The same side of the Moon always faces us on Earth, however, because the Moon’s orbital period is the same as its rotation around its axis.
Pictures of the Far Side
Since 1959, several missions by NASA and other space agencies have shown us more of the Moon’s far side.
Below are images of the fully illuminated “dark side” of the Moon that is not visible from Earth. These were captured by NASA’s DSCOVR satellite on July 15, 2015. Twice a year, the satellite is about to capture images of the Moon and Earth together as its ow norbit crosses the orbital plane of the Moon.
(Note that the Earth’s North Pole is toward the upper left, based on the angle of the satellite’s camera.)
On the far side of the Moon, you can easily see the Mare Moscoviense (Sea of Moscow) and the Tsiolkovskiy crater.
Click here to read about the “Near Side of the Moon.”