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Yes!! We really did land on the Moon 40 years ago,Today! July 20, 2009

Posted by jcconwell in Astronomy, IYA 2009, moon, Space Craft.
Tags: , ,

Forty years ago today Apollo 11 landed on the moon. When I have an open house at the observatory, one of the things people want to know is, can we see the landers that are left on the moon from the Apollo missions. I have to tell them no, too much atmosphere, and not enough telescope.

The scary thing is the 6% of the public who believe the landing was all just one big hoax. Now to answer both questions on the 40th anniversary…we’ve got pictures!!!!

All images credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Arizona State University

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 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.

Apollo 11 Site, Click for Larger picture

Apollo 11 Site, Click for Larger picture

The Apollo 14 site shows even more detail in the full picture below and the magnified Captions

Apollo 14 Landing Site

Apollo 14 Landing Site

Apollo 14 Site showing foot path and instruments

Apollo 14 Site showing foot path and instruments

These pictures are reminder of a past era of NASA exploration, but the LRO’s mission is paving the way for the future. By returning detailed lunar data, the mission will help NASA identify future landing sites robots and astronauts, locate potential resources,like water, and measure the moon’s radiation environment while testing new technologies.



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