[amsat-bb] Re: New Views - Apollo Landing Sites
va6bmj at gmail.com
Tue Sep 6 11:46:31 PDT 2011
On Tue, Sep 6, 2011 at 5:59 PM, Clint Bradford <clintbradford at mac.com>wrote:
> RELEASE: 11-289
> NASA SPACECRAFT IMAGES OFFER SHARPER VIEWS OF APOLLO LANDING SITES
> GREENBELT, Md. -- NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) captured
> the sharpest images ever taken from space of the Apollo 12, 14 and 17
> landing sites. Images show the twists and turns of the paths made
> when the astronauts explored the lunar surface.
> 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.
> "The new low-altitude Narrow Angle Camera images sharpen our view of
> the moon's surface," said Arizona State University researcher Mark
> Robinson, principal investigator for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter
> Camera (LROC). "A great example is the sharpness of the rover tracks
> at the Apollo 17 site. In previous images the rover tracks were
> visible, but now they are sharp parallel lines on the surface."
> At each site, trails also run to the west of the landers, where the
> astronauts placed the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package
> (ALSEP) to monitor the moon's environment and interior. This
> equipment was a key part of every Apollo mission.
> It provided the first insights into the moon's internal structure,
> measurements of the lunar surface pressure and the composition of its
> atmosphere. Apollo 11 carried a simpler version of the science
> One of the details that shows up is a bright L-shape in the Apollo 12
> image. It marks the locations of cables running from ALSEP's central
> station to two of its instruments. Although the cables are much too
> small for direct viewing, they show up because they reflect light
> very well.
> The higher resolution of these images is possible because of
> adjustments made to LRO's orbit, which is slightly oval-shaped or
> elliptical. "Without changing the average altitude, we made the orbit
> more elliptical, so the lowest part of the orbit is on the sunlit
> side of the moon," said Goddard's John Keller, deputy LRO project
> scientist. "This put LRO in a perfect position to take these new
> pictures of the surface."
> The maneuver lowered LRO from its usual altitude of approximately 31
> miles (50 kilometers) to an altitude that dipped as low as nearly 13
> miles (21 kilometers) as it passed over the moon's surface. The
> spacecraft has remained in this orbit for 28 days, long enough for
> the moon to completely rotate. This allows full coverage of the
> surface by LROC's Wide Angle Camera. The cycle ends today when the
> spacecraft will be returned to its 31-mile orbit.
> "These images remind us of our fantastic Apollo history and beckon us
> to continue to move forward in exploration of our solar system," said
> Jim Green, director of the Planetary Science Division at NASA
> Headquarters in Washington.
> LRO was built and managed by Goddard. Initial research was funded by
> the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters. In
> September 2010, after a one-year successful exploration mission, the
> mission turned its attention from exploration objectives to
> scientific research in NASA's Science Mission Directorate.
> To learn more about LRO, visit:
There are photos at:
Bernhard VA6BMJ @ DO33FL
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