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LRO Gets Additional View of Apollo 11 Landing Site

Published by Matt on Tue Nov 10, 2009 11:33 am via: source
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“Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.”

As the Apollo 11 Lunar Module (LM) neared the surface, Neil Armstrong could see the designated landing area would have been in a rocky area near West Crater. He had to change the flight plan and fly the LM westward to find a safe landing spot. This image is 742 meters wide (about 0.46 miles). North is towards the top of the image. Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University

As the Apollo 11 Lunar Module (LM) neared the surface, Neil Armstrong could see the designated landing area would have been in a rocky area near West Crater. He had to change the flight plan and fly the LM westward to find a safe landing spot. This image is 742 meters wide (about 0.46 miles). North is towards the top of the image. Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University

With those eight words, astronaut Neil Armstrong let the world know that Apollo 11 had landed safely on the moon, beginning humankind’s first exploration of another world. The landing certainly kept the mission operations crew in suspense as Armstrong maneuvered around the bouldery ejecta on the northeast flank of West Crater, finally settling down almost a kilometer to the west with only tens of seconds of fuel remaining.

Enlargement of area surrounding Apollo 11 landing site. Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University

Enlargement of area surrounding Apollo 11 landing site. Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera team earlier released two pictures of the Apollo 11 landing site, each taken under different lighting conditions and at lower resolution than this image. This is LROC’s first picture of Apollo 11 after LRO dropped into its 50 km mapping orbit. At this altitude, very small details of Tranquility Base can be discerned. The footpads of the LM are clearly discernible. Components of the Early Apollo Science Experiments Package (EASEP) are easily seen, as well. Boulders from West Crater lying on the surface to the east stand out, and the many small craters that cover the moon are visible to the southeast.

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