NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) has recorded the sharpest images ever taken from space of the Apollo 12, 14 and 17 landing sites. The photos show the twists and turns of the paths made when the astronauts explored the lunar surface, both on foot and in the Lunar Rover Vehicle (LRV).
Apollo 12 astronauts Pete Conrad and Alan Bean performed two moon walks during their mission. In the first walk, they collected samples and determined the best location for monitoring equipment called the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package (ALSEP). This experiment continued to send data about the moon’s interior and surface environment back to Earth for over seven years.
The second moon walk saw them set out from the descent stage, loop around Head crater, past Bench and Sharp craters before heading north east to the landing site of Surveyor 3. Here they collected hardware from the unmanned spacecraft that landed two years earlier.
In the Apollo 17 image above you can determine the last paths made on the moon by humans, astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt, and the easily recognisable dual tracks left by the lunar rover which can be seen to the east of the lander. The vehicle was “parked” there to provide the best camera view of the departing Challenger module at liftoff.
Will these be enough to silence the conspiracies? Probably not (where’s Apollo 11?!) but they’re still fascinating and beautiful to see.
Have a look at more images, video and info on the NASA LRO site here.