NPR : News

Filed Under:

Tracks, Equipment Left By Apollo Missions Visible In New Moon Photos

Tracks and equipment left on the moon by astronauts from three of the Apollo missions can be seen in new photos just released by NASA.

Though not close-ups by any stretch of the imagination, the images do offer more detail than other photos taken two years ago by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which is now circling the moon.

As it flew over landing sites of the Apollo 12, 14 and 17 missions, the orbiter snapped pictures that show, among other things:

-- Trails created by footprints from all six astronauts during the three missions, as well as tracks made by Apollo 17's Lunar Roving Vehicle (which also appears as a small dot in one photo).

-- Equipment such as the descent stages of lunar modules and cables running to two instruments from the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package left behind by Apollo 12 astronauts.

The missions took place in 1969 (Apollo 12), 1971 (Apollo 14) and 1972 (Apollo 17).

As NPR's Nell Greenfieldboyce reported earlier for the Newscast desk, in the first images of the Apollo landing sites sent back two years ago by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter "part of the Apollo 11 lunar module could be seen as a little dot. A footpath left by the Apollo 14 astronauts looked like some faint dark lines."

Today's images add some details. According to NASA, adjustments made to the Reconnaissance Orbiter's path "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."

Looking for a history of the Apollo missions? NASA's Web offerings begin here.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

WAMU 88.5

Your Turn: Sexual Assault, Nate Parker And More

Director Nate Parker's college rape case is resurfacing and putting off would-be fans of his highly anticipated film "The Birth of a Nation." What do Washingtonians think?

NPR

Minnesota Cracks Down On Neonic Pesticides, Promising Aid To Bees

Minnesota's governor has ordered new restrictions on the use of neonicotinoid pesticides, which have been blamed for killing bees. Many details of the plan, however, remain to be worked out.
WAMU 88.5

Donald Trump’s Immigration Plan And His Visit To Mexico

Donald Trump lays out a plan for immigration after a meeting with Mexico President Enrique Peña Nieto. An update on the Republican presidential nominee’s proposals on immigration, illegal drugs and trade.

WAMU 88.5

Results From Congressional Primary Races And New Concerns About Hacks Into State Voting Systems

Join us to discuss results from primary challenges to Republican Senator John McCain, Democratic Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz and others and new concerns possible Russian hackers breaking into U.S. state voting systems.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.