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LRO Takes Second, Closer Look at Apollo 11 Landing Site

Published by Matt on Tue Sep 29, 2009 7:46 pm via: source
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Written by Nancy Atkinson

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera has taken a second look at the Apollo 11 landing site. These images were taken before LRO reached its science orbit of 50 km (31 miles) above the Moon, but the lighting is different from the previous images it took of this region, providing more detail and a whole new look at this historic site.

LROC's second look at the Apollo 11 Landing Site. Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State UniversityLROC's second look at the Apollo 11 Landing Site. Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University

LROC's second look at the Apollo 11 Landing Site. Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University

This time the Sun was 28 degrees higher in the sky, making for smaller shadows and bringing out subtle brightness differences on the surface. The look and feel of the site has changed dramatically. See below for a close-up view.

NAC image blown up two times showing Tranquility Base. Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University

NAC image blown up two times showing Tranquility Base. Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University

The astronaut path to the TV camera is visible, and you may even be able to see the camera stand (arrow). You can identify two parts of the Early Apollo Science Experiments Package (EASEP) – the Lunar Ranging Retro Reflector (LRRR) and the Passive Seismic Experiment (PSE). Neil Armstrong’s tracks to Little West crater (33 m diameter) are also discernable (unlabeled arrow). His quick jaunt provided scientists with their first view into a lunar crater.

Nice going LROC!

See our previous article on the first round of LROC’s images of various Apollo landing sites.

This article was edited on Sept. 30 to correct a mistake about LRO’s orbit at the time these images were taken.

2 Comments
2amazing
This picture was taken on August 8 orbit 540, when the LRO was not in his lower orbit around Moon
The most recent photo was released September 5 from orbit 880, and this is not the lower orbit.
On Sept. 16, the LRO reached lower orbit 1012.
http://lroc.sese.asu.edu/data/pr/tiff/?C=M; O = D all pictures that have been released.
On the basis of the filename you can calculate the date that the photo was taken.
File Name (M1) 04362199 (. TIF) / (60 * 60 * 24) = 50.48841435
Lauchdate 18-06-09 14:32:12 + 50.48841435 = 8-08-09 2:15:31
Matt
Indeed, sorry about that, it's fixed now ;)
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