Let NASA take you to the moon with Debussy's Clair de Lune

Breathtaking moon imagery pairs beautifully with Debussy's contemplative tune.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser

It's Friday, and it's National Moon Day, making this a fabulous time to relax with a  NASA video that explores the moon's surface as the soothing strains of Claude Debussy's Clair de Lune ("Moonlight") tinkle through your speakers.  

NASA science visualizer Ernie Wright used data gathered by the space agency's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter to create the visualization, which has an epic cinematic feel. 

The video came about through a NASA partnership with the National Symphony Orchestra for a concert celebrating the space agency's 60th anniversary later this year. NSO Pops: Space, the Next Frontier combined NASA images with space-themed music for performances in early June. NASA released the video on YouTube on Friday.

Wright describes Debussy's classic, first published in 1905, as "melancholy, solitary and contemplative, as if you're alone, walking through a garden in the moonlight." 

The video pans across the moon's surface as vivid craters appear and sunlight plays across the landscape. 

"The thing about the moon is that the shadows are everything. If you don't do that well, you've pretty much lost the game — there aren't vibrant colors like on the Earth or Jupiter or Saturn," Wright said

The scenic video is the perfect way to celebrate July 20, the day the first humans landed on the moon in 1969.