The Moon is a bit of a paradox. It is perhaps the most familiar object in the night sky, visible no matter how badly we pump light from our homes and cities. It shows its textures and tones even without a telescope to peer through, and its patterns of illumination have registered with our hominid brains for as long as modern humans have been around. And it is the closest extraterrestrial body to us in the universe. 

Yet we remain astonishingly ignorant about so many aspects of its nature. From the details of its origins, to its later history, and even to its present properties

You'd think that ignorance would compel us to do more than set a dozen human beings on the surface - examining only a minuscule amount of lunar real estate by hands-on exploration. After all, this Moon of ours is a mere 240,000 miles away, and is arguably the last great untainted wilderness of the Earth (if our current ideas about its formation are accurate).

The good news is that we've continued to slowly grow our body of scientific data on the Moon. An important part of that effort has been the accumulation of ever better imagery of the lunar surface. One mission, NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), has been circling the Moon since 2009. 

A newly released LRO video presents an eye-popping tour of some of the most interesting features on the lunar surface - made richer by years of accumulated data. While an earlier version was also pretty beautiful, this update now features full 4K video resolution, so you'd do well to hop onto a good screen to experience it. There is something incredibly compelling about seeing the Moon with this clarity, it does spring into shape as something much more tangible, much more enticing.

The tour takes in places like the Orientale Basin, the Aristarchus Plateau, Shackleton Crater, and the Apollo 17 landing site (including the remains of the descent stage). It's well worth 5 minutes of your time.

Credit: NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio and the LRO