Friday, July 17, 2009

New Lunar Landing Site Photos. First Photos of Landers in 40 years!

NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO, has returned its first imagery of the Apollo moon landing sites. The pictures show the Apollo missions' lunar module descent stages sitting on the moon's surface, as long shadows from a low sun angle make the modules' locations evident.The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera, or LROC, was able to image five of the six Apollo sites, with the remaining Apollo 12 site expected to be photographed in the coming weeks.The satellite reached lunar orbit June 23 and captured the Apollo sites between July 11 and 15. Though it had been expected that LRO would be able to resolve the remnants of the Apollo mission, these first images came before the spacecraft reached its final mapping orbit. Future LROC images from these sites will have two to three times greater resolution.
All images credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Arizona State University

Apollo 11 lunar module, Eagle.Image width: 282 meters (about 925 ft.)› Larger image

Apollo 15 lunar module, Falcon.Image width: 384 meters (about 1,260 ft.)› Larger image

Apollo 16 lunar module, Orion.Image width: 256 meters (about 840 ft.)› Larger image

Apollo 17 lunar module, Challenger.Image width: 359 meters (about 1,178 ft.)› Larger image

Apollo 14 lunar module, Antares.Image width: 538 meters (about 1,765 ft.)› Larger image

This graphic shows the approximate locations of the Apollo moon landing sites.Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio› Larger image› View animation

Grey HautaluomaNASA HeadquartersAndy FreebergNASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

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