The Half-Astrophysicist Blog

The Apollo 11 Landing Site

Okay, I know I have been blogging a lot about the Apollo missions, but lots of cool stuff is coming out.  Today’s really cool thing is an image of the Apollo 11 landing site taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC for short).  Get a load of this.

The Lunar module had two parts.  The bottom part essentially served as a launch pad for the top part which the astronauts rode bade to lunar obrit.  It is this bottom part that we see here.  The Sun was low in the sky and you can clearly see its long shadow (just like we cast near sunset or sunrise here on Earth) pointing to the left.  The got an even more impressive image of the Apollo 14 site.

Here you can see an instrument package they left on the Moon as well as the astronauts tracks leading from the lander to the instrument!  These aren’t individual footprints (the resolution isn’t quite that good!) but rather more like a path they made in the lunar regolith (that dry dusty stuff that covers the surface).  You can check out the Apollo 15, 16 and 17 landing sites as well.

And these aren’t even the best images we will get.  The LRO is not in its final mapping orbit.  When it lowers its orbit, we will get even better images.  Stay tuned!

July 17, 2009 - Posted by | NASA, Solar System

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