Last year, NASA released a series of photos documenting the Apollo landing sites that were snapped by its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) mission. In making such a press release, NASA was trying to do two things, the primary being to renew interest in the LRO mission and the secondary be to disprove the ‘we never went to the Moon’ conspiracy theorists. While the images were good, some space enthusiasts still wanted more.
Now, just a little over a year after the first batch of images, NASA has released another set, this one having much more details visible as the images were snapped from a mere 15 miles in altitude, about half the height the first round of images were shot from.
As one would expect, getting a little closer has done wonders.
Mark Robinson of the University of Arizona and who also is chief investigator for the LRO camera called the images ‘spectacular,’ adding that it was possible to see details that were invisible in the 2010 images. Examples: one can now differentiate from astronauts’ footprints and the tracks of the lunar rover, see the seats in the rover itself, and even tell which way the wheels were turned. Another big plus: the deep shadows that characterized some of the first images, thus obscuring them to a degree, are gone thanks to more favorable sunlight.
As for the images themselves, space.com has a gallery, along with a short video put together from some of the pictures. Needless to say, the images are very interesting and worth a look.
For anyone wanting to learn about the Apollo Program, the only manned mission to another world, in the Cleveland area, visit the NASA Glenn Visitor Center, located at the Great Lakes Science Center right in downtown Cleveland.
When it comes to looking at the Moon, be sure to keep an eye on the Cleveland weather forecast and, for hour-by-hour cloud predictions, the Cleveland Clear Sky Clock. Unfortunately, the current forecast does not give much optimism for any astronomy ion the coming week as it is calling for persistent clouds. Live somewhere else? Find a clockand see if it will be clear near you.
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National Space News Examiner
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Bodzash Photography and Astronomy