Nasa have just released a series of timely photos taken from their Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. This orbiter which is gearing up to map the surface of the moon to identify landing sites for future manned missions took some time to snap some images of the landing sites from the last visit we made to our pale dance partner in space.
The orbiter is still not in its final mapping orbit so we can expect future images of these areas to get 2 to 3 times the resolution but even at this early stage its still really exciting to see the marks we left on the moon still there. While Apollo 11 site wins the historically most important site my personal favorite is the snap of the Apollo 14 landing site:
You can actually see the path that Al Shepard and Edgar Mitchell made as they shuffled from the Lunar Module to some of the scientific instruments. Apollo 14 is also my favorite mission for two reasons: as Al Shepard played some golf on the moon and the astronauts took with them a number of seed which where then germinated back on Earth to make Moon Trees (I am a big old sentimental softy at heart) .
While its exciting to have these photos it does highlight a little how much of a shame it is that this is the first time we have seen the site of what is arguably one of humanities greatest accomplishments in over 38 years.
Forty years ago today Apollo 11 set off on a mission to land on the moon for the first time. To celebrate the anniversary of this historic occasion this website is going to recreate the entire mission in real time! As I write this there’s about 4 hours to go until launch and the crew are reported to be resting…
(Launch photo courtesy of NASA)