Saturday, September 10, 2011

NASA snaps detailed flyover photos of moon landing sites

All images: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/ASU
These are some spectacular new photos from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) probe launched by NASA back in June of '09, which is still in service and snapping images of the moon's surface.

The craft has returned pictures showing imprints left behind by astronauts and their equipment on Apollo missions 12, 14, and 17. From NASA:
At the Apollo 17 site, the tracks laid down by the lunar rover are clearly visible, along with the last foot trails left on the moon. The images also show where the astronauts placed some of the scientific instruments that provided the first insight into the moon's environment and interior.

"We can retrace the astronauts' steps with greater clarity to see where they took lunar samples," said Noah Petro, a lunar geologist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., who is a member of the LRO project science team.

All three images show distinct trails left in the moon's thin soil when the astronauts exited the lunar modules and explored on foot. In the Apollo 17 image, the foot trails, including the last path made on the moon by humans, are easily distinguished from the dual tracks left by the lunar rover, which remains parked east of the lander.
While it's exciting to see that the equipment is still there, it's pretty awesome that the actual footpaths are also intact!

Check out more photos and the full story at NASA's site

Props to Beam Me Up

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