In 2007 the Selenological and Engineering Explorer (SELENE) was launched by what is now known as the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). Its mission was to orbit the Earth’s moon and gather information about its terrain.

The explorer was nicknamed, Kaguya, after a character from the Japanese folktale, The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter which was recently remade as a Studio Ghibli feature film, Kaguya Hime no Monogatari. In a nicely timed announcement with hype from the movie, the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan (GSI) has released a high-res 3D map of our moon that can be viewed from the comfort of your own browser.

With a few clicks, drags, and wheels of your mouse you can traverse the vast rock wilderness of the lunar surface. Unfortunately they don’t have an option to change the color scheme. With the default red and green hues, the dark side of the moon looks like the sidewalk outside a bar at 3:00am.

However, thanks to this data we can finally put to rest a long-standing controversy between Eastern and Western cultures. While Western countries have long said that a man’s face could be seen in the near side of the moon, whereas in East Asian countries a rabbit preparing food is seen.

Now, thanks to the GSI’s map made in cooperation with Asia Air Survey Co. with data picked up by Kaguya, we can determine what exactly is depicted in the moon. Hopefully the world can finally unite and look up at night to see a fallen snowman as one.

In another startling discovery, nestled in the numerous ridges on the dark side of the moon like so many scutes on an alligator’s back, we find what appears to be a robot from the 1980 video game Berzerk.

Well, that’s about all we discovered on our trip to the moon. Why don’t you go on and take a look around yourself by visiting the online map? Happy mooning!

Source: GSI via Kotaku, Gizmodo (Japanese)
Rabbit and Man Images: Wikipedia – Luc Viatour/Weeneldo, Zeimusu
Video: YouTube – 123456RaulMorales