Feeds

NASA orbiter returns first shots of Apollo moon sites

Bigger, better pics to come

Build a business case: developing custom apps

NASA's lunar orbiter has returned its first pictures of the Apollo moon landing sites. The images — showing the missions' lunar module descent stages accented by their shadows from a low sun angle — may at least prove to die-hard conspiracy theorists that NASA went to considerable lengths to relocate its secret movie studio in the Nevada desert.

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) was able take pictures of five of the six Apollo sites between July 11 and 15. The yet un-depicted Apollo 12 site is expected to be photographed in coming weeks.

The initial pictures are somewhat lacking in detail because they were taken before the spacecraft reached its final mapping orbit. NASA says future images of the Apollo sites will have two to three times greater resolution.

Apollo 11 landing site, courtesy NASA/Arizona State University

"The LROC team anxiously awaited each image," said LROC chief investigator Mark Robinson of Arizona State University. "We were very interested in getting our first peek at the lunar module descent stages just for the thrill — and to see how well the cameras had come into focus. Indeed, the images are fantastic and so is the focus."

NASA explains that LRO's elliptical orbit made the image resolution for each site slightly different but were all around four feet per pixel. With the deck of the Apollo decent stage at about 12 feet in diameter, they fill a total of about nine pixels. But because the sun was low to the horizon at the time, small variations to the Moon's topography create long shadows, allowing the relics to better stand out.

The Apollo 14 landing site had particularly advantageous lighting conditions at the time, allowing details such as the astronaut footpath between the module and instrument package to be visible.

Apollo 14 landing site, courtesy NASA/Arizona State University

To view the complete collection of the first Apollo landing site images, check here or here. ®

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
Asteroid's SHOCK DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck - boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
Jurassic squawk: Dinos were Earth's early FEATHERED friends
Boffins research: Ancient dinos may all have had 'potential' fluff
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.