Archive for July, 2009

Apollo LM descent stages imaged!

July 18, 2009

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter recently began imaging the surface of the Moon in unprecedented detail. Astonishing images of 5 of the 6 landing sites for Apollo have been released and at last we can resolve the hardware left behind by the 12.

Apollo 14 landing site

Apollo 14 landing site

This image of the Apollo 14 landing site, where Shephard and Mitchell landed is remarkable for its detail, showing both the descent stage (middle right) and to the left a little the ALSEP, or part of it and the trail the astronauts left as they walked between the two.

The Apollo 17 image is interesting.  I’m not sure, but wonder if the rover (or rather its shadow) can be seen to the left of the descent stage here, left after famously allowing Ed Fendell to capture the liftoff of the ascent stage taking Cernan and Schmitt from the Moon for the last time.

Apollo 17 Landing Site

Apollo 17 Landing Site

What’s even more exciting about these images is that there is better to come.  The LRO is yet to achieve its final orbit and resolution (just over 1m per pixel currently) is set to double at least.  Wow!