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NASA's LRO Captures High-Res Pics of Apollo Landing Sites 197

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the easy-to-photograph-a-sound-stage dept.
The Bad Astronomer is one of many readers who wrote to tell us about NASA's release of high-res photos showing the Apollo landing sites. The photos were taken from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and show the traces of earlier visits to the Moon. "The satellite reached lunar orbit June 23 and captured the Apollo sites between July 11 and 15. Though it had been expected that LRO would be able to resolve the remnants of the Apollo mission, these first images came before the spacecraft reached its final mapping orbit. Future LROC images from these sites will have two to three times greater resolution."
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NASA's LRO Captures High-Res Pics of Apollo Landing Sites

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  • by cmowire (254489) on Friday July 17, 2009 @06:31PM (#28736397) Homepage

    I'm sure at least once, somebody in the team asked "Now, you guys do know that this will show the landing sight. We really didn't fake the landing, right?"

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by e9th (652576)
      More experienced members of the team were asking, "Are we sure we can get good pictures of the New Mexico desert from way up there?"
    • by Xtifr (1323)

      Actually, to show the landing sight, I think they'd actually have to land again. To show the landing site, however, simply requires a sufficiently high-resolution camera.

      • Which we apparently don't have. I could take a better picture of the moon with a telescope and a camera.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Which we apparently don't have. I could take a better picture of the moon with a telescope and a camera.

          Better than the recent orbiters that have and will be sent up? No. Good enough to see the landing sites? Also no [discovermagazine.com].

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        To show the landing sight, would require an observer with very powerful optics imaging the site from forty light years away.
        That sight of the site would then be able to show the landing.

        The best we can hope for is a sight of the landing site as it is now.

    • by portforward (313061) on Friday July 17, 2009 @06:45PM (#28736545)

      It does always bug me that the people who are so mistrustful that they refuse to accept that US astronauts did in fact land on the moon. One of them even harassed Buzz Aldrin to the point that Buzz (in his late 70s) dropped the guy with one punch to the face. CNN just had a front page article where they stated that around 25% of 18-25 year olds doubted the truth of the landing. That is utterly depressing, showing the current level of science education.

      Honestly, I think the best argument is that the Soviets would definitely have called us out on not landing. They would have had the technology to disprove us, and don't tell me that they wouldn't have called us out.

      Someday I hope that we as a species will go back.

      • by clarkkent09 (1104833) * on Friday July 17, 2009 @06:57PM (#28736635)
        Honestly, I think the best argument is that the Soviets would definitely have called us out on not landing. They would have had the technology to disprove us, and don't tell me that they wouldn't have called us out.

        That's easy, I have reliable evidence from the voices inside my head that we just exchanged some alien technology from the Roswell UFO crash for their silence.
      • by girlintraining (1395911) on Friday July 17, 2009 @07:08PM (#28736733)

        CNN just had a front page article where they stated that around 25% of 18-25 year olds doubted the truth of the landing. That is utterly depressing, showing the current level of science education.

        They must have done the survey south of the mason-dixon line, because up here in Minnesota, I have yet to meet anyone who believes that garbage. I still remember when Fox News aired their little "moon hoax" series what NASA's response was. It was, in my opinion, the best headline I will ever read in my life. It read, in giant lettering across its homepage;

        Yes, We Did.

        Don't think that just because we have slathering idiots in the streets that America as a whole has become uneducated. I assure you, idiots breed in larger numbers than smart people in every country.

        • in my opinion, the best headline I will ever read in my life. It read, in giant lettering across its homepage;

          Yes, We Did.

          Best. Headline. Ever.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Sockatume (732728)

        It was about 6% of the whole American population, IIRC, in a Gallup poll. About the sort of percentage you'll get as a minimum for any claim, because people tend to agree to statements in surveys to get the surveyors to leave them alone.

      • by spaceyhackerlady (462530) on Friday July 17, 2009 @07:16PM (#28736795)

        It wasn't just the Soviet Union listening in. Ham radio folks listened in too. Check QST for reception reports for Apollo 10 onwards.

        I think it's interesting to compare how well we can fake it now (Apollo 13, From the Earth to the Moon, etc.) with real Apollo footage. Even today, we can't get it quite right.

        ...laura who has been comparing LRO pictures with the pictures taken by the astronauts

      • Unfortunately the folks obsessed with "disproving" the Moon landings are doing on the premise that NASA faked the whole thing. So any evidence in support coming from NASA would of course be expected. Logic, reason, and facts are not exactly these peoples strong points, so this will do nothing to curtail their wailings. Indeed, this will just be added to the list of things, "faked."
        • At least as far as I can tell, Moon Hoaxers are considered to be fringe nutters even within conspiracy theory circles. Their theories are so shoddy that even the folks who believe firmly in in little green men at Area 51 want nothing to do with it.

      • by Hadlock (143607) on Friday July 17, 2009 @07:24PM (#28736863) Homepage Journal

        Considering the lack of moon-based science we've done since the 70's, that number doesn't really surprise me. I grew up in the 80's, and when I found out as a kid that we'd not just sent one group of men to the moon, but several, I got excited wanting to know how I could go visit the moon myself. I was crushed, upon learning that less than 30 people had ever been to the moon, and nobody ever planned to go back again. It's been almost 20 years since I learned the awful truth, and nobody still yet has a firm launch date for sending a manned orbiter to the moon, let alone an idea of what it would look like. If you're under 30 - the idea of putting a man on the moon sounds damn cool - but it might as well be Arthurian Legend or a story out of an H.G. Wells book written long before you were born. I think people under 30 are highly supportive of putting a man on the moon, and a man on the mars (seriously, what government agency do I write a check to?) but they're skeptical of it ever happening in our lifetime.

        • by MaWeiTao (908546)

          I think people under 30 are highly supportive of putting a man on the moon

          Well, amongst the people I know in that age group there while there are some who are highly enthusiastic about the idea I also know far too many who don't have the foresight to see the benefit such a venture would provide humanity. They see landing on the moon, or anywhere else as a complete waste of money. Every last one of them already thinks too much is spent on NASA and would rather see the money spent on social programs instead.

      • by Tomfrh (719891) on Friday July 17, 2009 @07:26PM (#28736885)

        Honestly, I think the best argument is that the Soviets would definitely have called us out on not landing.

        The top tiers of the Soviet machine were in on the hoax. It was excellent propaganda. It generated fear in their people, and fearful people are more easily herded.

        Instead of "Iraq has WMDs" it was "America has moon rockets".

      • I agree. But your problem is that you are trying to attack schizophrenia with logic. I recommend trying to argue about something with someone with schizophrenia for an hour. Then you see that logic does not help here. My brother worked with a guy, who insisted that he was able to control the whole world. He ran on the highway, stating that nothing would hit him, because he would control everything. He got hit by a car. He landed in a hospital. And the first discussion when he could talk again, was that this

      • by Foobar of Borg (690622) on Friday July 17, 2009 @08:21PM (#28737293)

        One of them even harassed Buzz Aldrin to the point that Buzz (in his late 70s) dropped the guy with one punch to the face.

        Since you brought it up, I thought I'd link to the video on YouTube. [youtube.com] One of my all-time favorites!

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by deathguppie (768263)

        It's simple to understand why some people question it really. If Spain had sent explorers to the new world, and then no one had repeated the journey for say 40 years, many people would have questioned it's existence. The fact that we propose to have done something in the 60's that we are incapable of doing today leads to the questions.

        • by c6gunner (950153)

          It's a lot simpler to understand - there are a lot of crazy people around, and even more ignorant people, and conspiracy theories pop up about every major event. Look at how many people believe the "alternate theories" about the JFK assassination.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by mark-t (151149)
          It's not so much that we are incapable of doing it... it's that a straightforward and practical cost-benefit analysis doesn't really show up any reasons why we ought to continue doing it.... or for that matter, why we ought to have done it in the first place, beyond perhaps just being able to say that we did. Since there's no point in continually throwing good money after bad, we stopped going to the moon.
      • "Someday I hope that we as a species will go back."

        Back to the ocean?

      • They would have had the technology to disprove us, and don't tell me that they wouldn't have called us out.

        Also, the rabble-rousing conspiracy nuts would all have been assassinated.

      • Actually, the people who would have had to be convinced would be NASA--they would be the hard ones to fake out. All the Soviet Union had was the voice signals to the moon, which could easily be faked.

        As I've said before, the conspiracists I've read about say we didn't land people on the moon. There's nothing mentioned about our ability to land hardware on the moon. I've never heard anybody say the Surveyor probes were faked. So it's not impossible that NASA landed a transmitter on the moon that would re

    • Hey now, NASA engineers may not always know the difference between metric and imperial units but they aren't that stupid.

      • by cmowire (254489)

        Well, if I were a NASA engineer working on the LRO (sometimes I kinda wish I were, being the nerd I am) I'd probably ask the question to get a cheap laugh.

    • Leave a vehicle unattended anywhere in the solar system and it is stolen. We should be able to see the rovers if we can see the footprints.
  • Nice (Score:5, Funny)

    by Kell Bengal (711123) on Friday July 17, 2009 @06:32PM (#28736411)
    Neat shots. I'm just waiting for someone to 'CSI enhance' this so that we can see Neil's bootprints.
  • by itsybitsy (149808) * on Friday July 17, 2009 @06:32PM (#28736413)

    Awesome place. Beautiful desolation. Cheap prices. Vacant land. Good views of Earth. Historic properties. Once in a lifetime chance to own a piece of history.

    • No way! Never buy any property listed as 'historic' - the council will never let you change or fix anything. I can't imagine the paperwork you'd have to go through to get clearance to reshingle your geodesic dome near Tranquility Base for fear of upsetting historic mounds of moon dust.
    • by ctmurray (1475885)
      It cost about 2.3 Billion per launch in 1970 dollars for the Saturn V rocket [wikipedia.org]. And I think you could only get two people down to the moon at a shot. So the land is not that cheap.
      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        But that includes research costs. Now that they already know how to build the thing, it would probably only cost 10% of that to do it all over again.
  • by DieByWire (744043) on Friday July 17, 2009 @06:38PM (#28736479)
    Sheesh. These pics are just a few days old and they've already lost the images of the Apollo 13 landing sight.
  • fake pictures? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by veci (728478) on Friday July 17, 2009 @06:41PM (#28736517)
    Crazy people claim that NASA forged all those moon landing videos and photos (missing stars etc.) They have to refine their theory now it seems (maybe NASA forged these pictures as well)...
    • by Sockatume (732728)

      Of course they'll say NASA forged these photos. Or that the landers were placed by robots, which is already their excuse for the langer range-finders the Apollo missions placed on the moon. There's no conceivable evidence, even in principle, which could disprove their conspiracy theory. It's a matter of faith. The interpretation of the evidence must bend to that belief, no matter how implausible the leaps involved, to vindicate it.

    • by j-turkey (187775)

      Crazy people claim that NASA forged all those moon landing videos and photos (missing stars etc.) They have to refine their theory now it seems (maybe NASA forged these pictures as well)...

      Pssh. NASA put the landers on the moon after they faked the manned landings. To further the incredibly elaborate hoax, NASA obviously developed the technology to put unmanned crafts on the moon well after the landings. The current LRO was designed to photograph these unmanned crafts to further the fraud. The footprints were made by a rover. To top it all off, Netcraft confirms all of my findings.

      There are so many questions about the moon landings that the only scientific conclusion is that the manned

    • Re:fake pictures? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by 4D6963 (933028) on Friday July 17, 2009 @11:05PM (#28738157)

      Yeah, but who fucking cares? I mean seriously, everytime the Apollo program comes up on Slashdot half of the discussion is about how hoax theorists won't shut up about it. How about we shut up about them, no one else cares about their ridiculous opinions, and if anything it'd be better to ignore such silly ideas.

      Same thing for flat Earth theorists, creationists, holocaust deniers, global warming deniers and so on. If we stopped caring about what any looney/troll says we wouldn't even hear of those stupid ideas, cause we're the ones who do the best job at repeating and spreading those ideas.

  • Apollo 16 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by somenickname (1270442) on Friday July 17, 2009 @06:53PM (#28736603)

    Looking at the Apollo 16 landing site, I bet they had a very real "Oh Shit!" moment just before landing...

    • Re:Apollo 16 (Score:4, Informative)

      by Concerned Onlooker (473481) on Friday July 17, 2009 @08:07PM (#28737191) Homepage Journal
      Maybe. But if you look at pictures taken towards all four directions from the landing site [usra.edu] it doesn't appear to have landed all that close to the edge of the crater.
      • Re:Apollo 16 (Score:4, Interesting)

        by burning-toast (925667) on Friday July 17, 2009 @11:19PM (#28738227)

        I imagine it may have been a little bit more tense. (From: http://history.nasa.gov/ap16fj/a16summary.htm [nasa.gov])
        (They had other issues before this excerpt too):
        "The descent propulsion system throttle down occurred on time, and at 2200 metres the LM pitched forward into its landing attitude. At this point it became clear that Orion would land approximately 600 metres north and 400 metres west of its target, unless corrective action was taken. Using the guidance computer, John Young redesignated the landing target, effectively telling the landing computer to offset where it was guiding the spacecraft to land. Despite this, it became clear that Orion was going to end up slightly north-west of its intended location. At about 140 metres above the Moon, Charlie Duke saw the shadow of the Lunar Module appear on the surface. As Orion descended below 60 metres, John Young yawed the spacecraft right, allowing him to see the shadow also. This then allowed both the crew to estimate their altitude above the surface and their descent rate. John Young flew the LM slowly forward as the lunar module descent rate reduced from eleven to five feet per second. As a LM descended below 25 metres, small traces of dust were blown across the surface by the engine. This increased as the LM descended to surface but John Young was still able to see craters and small boulders on the surface despite this. Orion landed at ( time), only 270 metres north and 60 metres west of its original target. Charlie Duke greeted their success with an exuberant "Wow! Wild man! Look at that!". John Young was more laconic - "Well, we don't have to walk far to pick up rocks, Houston. We're among them!" "

    • by MrKaos (858439)

      Looking at the Apollo 16 landing site, I bet they had a very real "Oh Shit!" moment just before landing...

      You can see the shadow of the lander inside the crater wall. Great landing site though to be so close to a crater.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      If you've got balls enough to be a NASA astronaut, you don't have "oh shit" moments. Armstrong famously took manual control of the Eagle and landed with just 45 seconds of fuel remaining.
    • by Darinbob (1142669)
      I was just looking at these pictures and I suddenly got slightly dizzy and started thinking "Holy Shit! We've been to the moon!" I saw the landing when I was very young, and while it was exciting I can't even imagine what older adults were thinking at the time.

      Ok, maybe I need some medicine...
  • It may be time to update Google moon [google.com] soon. It is interesting to compare the quality of the images.

    Come to think of it, it would probably be harder to produce an Apollo-quality fake moon landing than do it for real given 1960 era technology.

  • Eerie Moon Orbits (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Friday July 17, 2009 @07:00PM (#28736671)
    I don't know what the final orbit will be but what I find eerie about lunar orbits is that you should be able to insert something into orbit that is only say 10 miles above the highest peaks, possibly even less, and that would be amazing to watch fly over if one was in the position to be there.
  • government agency in any civilization, ever.

    Everything they do is cool.

    • by dissy (172727)

      Everything they do is cool.

      In fact, everything they do is about -455 degrees Fahrenheit (-270 C) cool!

  • Oblig (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fiannaFailMan (702447) on Friday July 17, 2009 @07:27PM (#28736897) Journal

    "As I take man's last step from the surface, back home for some time to come â" but we believe not too long into the future â" I'd like to just [say] what I believe history will record â" that America's challenge of today has forged man's destiny of tomorrow. And, as we leave the Moon at Taurus-Littrow, we leave as we came and, God willing, as we shall return, with peace and hope for all mankind. Godspeed the crew of Apollo 17."

            â" Eugene A. Cernan, Apollo 17 Commander. Last man to walk on the moon, December 14, 1972.

  • by SnarfQuest (469614) on Friday July 17, 2009 @07:29PM (#28736917)

    Couldn't they have faked up higher resolution images? Everyone knows that they created all the moon landings on a sound stage. I mean, rockets making it all the way to the moon? Get real! I've played with Estes rockets, and they can't can't go anywhere near that high. If my 1 foot tall rocket could go a thousand feet up, you'd need a rocket several miles high to get anywhere close to the moon. And where are you going to find a rubber band large enough to attach the parachute?

  • I can't see any Whalers in the pics! Maybe the Whalers live on the dark side?
  • I know that 12 is no stranger to coverage troubles [nasa.gov], but this had to be one of the most exciting sites, with Pete Conrad and his team gratifying us all with the very first precision landing on the Moon, right next to the good old Surveyor III probe [wikipedia.org]. With a LEM descent stage and a probe sitting close-by on the same picture, it's bound to be a winner.

    Come on NASA; we have now come to accept that the good 11 footage has been destroyed forever - don't deprive us of 12 too!

  • Finally, (Score:5, Informative)

    by Attila the Bun (952109) on Friday July 17, 2009 @09:04PM (#28737569)

    that'll shut-up the conspiracy theorists.

    OK, so maybe not. One of the best, and least-quoted reasons to believe that the moon landings were genuine, is the way the dust was kicked up by the astronauts and the lunar rover. It follows a perfect parabola -- something dust in an atmosphere never does. So, NASA might have built a humongous vacuum chamber, big enough to contain a studio... But eventually it becomes simpler to go to the moon for real.

  • by bmo (77928) on Friday July 17, 2009 @09:36PM (#28737773)

    40 years after Apollo 11...

    Walter Cronkite is dead.

    And that's the way it was. :-(

    http://www.salon.com/politics/war_room/2009/07/17/cronkite/ [salon.com]

    --
    BMO

  • I can never seem to see lunar craters correctly. They always look like domes to me.

  • I can't understand how anyone at the time could look at all six landing on the moon as anything short of amazing as opposed to mundane. It sure says a lot about the differences of the times. I look at the landing sites and think that everyone of those is as important as the first moon landing. I wonder if the attitude towards the moon program would have been then if they'd have known how complacent and cynical people would become.

    Back then they had all the promise of what the future would be like. Who know

    • by Scutter (18425)

      I can't understand how anyone at the time could look at all six landing on the moon as anything short of amazing as opposed to mundane.

      I wonder if they would have felt the same if they had known there would only be six and then at LEAST another 40 years before the next one. I suspect it became "routine" because everyone just assumed we'd have vast moon bases by now.

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