The Apollo 15 Lunar Module in 1971 (NASA)
The Apollo 15 Lunar Module in 1971 (NASA)

Missions, Moon

Japanese SELENE (Kaguya) Lunar Mission Spots Apollo 15 Landing Site (Images)

16 Jul , 2008 by

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The Japanese lunar mission SELENE (Selenological and Engineering Explorer), also known as “Kaguya” has imaged the “halo” left behind in the lunar surface from Apollo 15’s lunar module engine exhaust plume. This is the first time a mission after the Apollo Program has detected such a feature. Apollo 15 landed on the Moon in 1971 in a region called Mare Imbrium, and SELENE’s Terrain Camera (TC) is continuing to reconstruct a 3D view of the region in unprecedented high-resolution.

The Hadley Rille, at the foot of the Apennine Mountains encircling the Mare Imbrium where Apollo 15 landed (NASA/JAXA)

The Hadley Rille, at the foot of the Apennine Mountains encircling the Mare Imbrium where Apollo 15 landed (NASA/JAXA)

Apollo 15 touched down on the lunar surface on July 31st, 1971 with David Scott and James Irwin, to carry out 18.5 hours of lunar extra-vehicular activity. This was the first “J mission” where a greater emphasis was placed on scientific studies. After the lunar module blasted off from the Moon, the lunar astronauts looked back on the launch site to see a fresh “halo” had formed after the surface was exposed to the module’s engine exhaust plume. The NASA astronauts took before and after shots of the landing zone where a lightening of the surface is evident. This halo had not been observed since Apollo 15, until the high resolution Terrain Camera on board SELENE imaged the region.

Apollo 15 halo as observed by SELENE (JAXA)

Apollo 15 halo as observed by SELENE (JAXA)

The image (pictured left) processed by the SELENE mission instrument team appears to show a bright patch in the exact location of the Apollo 15 lunar module landing zone at the foot of the Apennine Mountains around the Mare Imbrium close to “Hadley Rille.” The Hadley Rille is a sinuous rille with a length of 80km and depth of 300m. A “sinuous rille” is a long, narrow, meandering depression in the lunar surface (much like a river basin, minus water). One of the primary mission objectives of Apollo 15 was to understand the origin of this rille. The most likely cause of Hadley Rille is lava flow during early development of the Moon. For the Apollo 15 astronauts, this region will have been an awesome sight, especially being at the base of the towering Apennine Mountains.

Comparison between 3D SELENE landscape and Apollo 15 photo (JAXA/NASA)

Comparison between 3D SELENE landscape and Apollo 15 photo (JAXA/NASA)

The TC instrument has been instrumental in creating 3D visualizations of the lunar surface. In the example left, a comparison of the TC reconstruction and an actual Apollo 15 photograph are compared. Although some of the detail is missing (as the individual rocks are below the 10 meter resolving power of the orbiting camera), the scenes are identical. The SELENE mission (launched in 2007) continues to generate a huge amount of 3D data, contributing to some of the most detailed maps of the lunar surface ever created.

Source: JAXA

By  
[Follow me on Twitter (@astroengine)] [Check out my space blog: Astroengine.com] [Check out my radio show: Astroengine Live!] Hello! My name is Ian O'Neill and I've been writing for the Universe Today since December 2007. I am a solar physics doctor, but my space interests are wide-ranging. Since becoming a science writer I have been drawn to the more extreme astrophysics concepts (like black hole dynamics), high energy physics (getting excited about the LHC!) and general space colonization efforts. I am also heavily involved with the Mars Homestead project (run by the Mars Foundation), an international organization to advance our settlement concepts on Mars. I also run my own space physics blog: Astroengine.com, be sure to check it out!


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mandydax
Guest
mandydax
July 16, 2008 4:31 PM

Take that, moonlandinghoaxers! razz

Seriously, that is awesome. grin

joe
Guest
joe
July 16, 2008 4:54 PM

Maybe sometime in the future, that site will be a tourist destination.

Yoo
Member
July 16, 2008 4:57 PM

Nice to see that us humans can still send spacecraft that can observe the previous human presence on the Moon.

sofista
Member
July 16, 2008 5:13 PM

La misión lunar japonesa SELENE (Selenological and Engineering Explorer), también conocida como Kaguya, fotografió el efecto halo dejado en la superficie de la Luna por los gases de combustión del motor del módulo lunar de la Apolo XV. Esta es la primera vez que una misión posterior al Programa Apolo ha detectado tal característica del terreno. […] Fuente: Ian O’Neill para Universe Today, y JAXA.

Astrofiend
Member
Astrofiend
July 16, 2008 6:01 PM

“mandydax Says:
July 16th, 2008 at 4:31 pm

“Take that, moonlandinghoaxers!”

They’ll probably just whinge that the photo is doctored or something like that knob Hoagland does with NASA’s Mars shots. There is just no reasoning with some people!

NEWK
Guest
NEWK
July 16, 2008 7:54 PM

Suck it, conspiracy theorists.

Yoo
Member
July 16, 2008 7:59 PM

I just hope that they don’t claim it’s the “Lunar Jalapeno”, that it’s not the lunar surface exposed by Apollo 15. We already have enough stupidity with the Face on Mars.

kbutler
Guest
kbutler
July 17, 2008 5:36 AM

Oh well, I guess maybe they were possibly there after all. So much for the special Hollywood studio under Canaveral theory.

pro
Guest
pro
July 16, 2008 10:48 PM

I would be very surprised if they are silenced with this.
The problem is, it is a very good way of making money (selling books etc)… so they will find something else to build their conspiracy theories on….

Sumo
Guest
Sumo
July 16, 2008 11:25 PM
Unless I’ve got my selenography wrong (and that’s quite possible) I found out another tidbit that just is extra curious. On this blog last weekend we were looking at this region of the moon (see http://www.universetoday.com/2008/07/11/weekend-skywatchers-forecast-july-11-13-2008/) and if I had just dug a little deeper I would have found out that Apollo 15 landed just south of Lunik 2! Truly an historic region. I think it was probably too far away to get to the Soviet crash site by go-cart, and anyway it would have been vapourized I suppose, except for the curious memorabilia which were intended to survive the crash. I wonder if there was any attempt to correlate these regions, or if the Soviet photography aided… Read more »
Joel Raupe
Guest
July 17, 2008 1:45 AM
Kaguya has me longing for the closer, less stable orbit and HiRES camera of LRO, may she fly soon. 20 to 0.5 meter per pixel res versus the 5 meter per pixel res of Kaguya. In the search for the stingy releases of JAXA’s data, check the Japanese Image Gallery for the latest, generally made available two to three weeks before being posted on the English site ( http://wms.selene.jaxa.jp/index_e.html ). These Terrain Camera A15 shots have already been upstaged by the A17 Taurus-Littrow shots, and the latter are now finally on the English Flash Gallery, last I looked. Don’t neglect to take advantage of all the HDTV images there, either. The Lunar Farside shots of Mare Ingenii’s stunning… Read more »
tegwilym
Member
July 17, 2008 8:55 AM

Soon the LRO will put those hoaxers in their place!

Mick
Guest
July 17, 2008 5:06 AM

Dam they did land on the moon meh thats 100 websites Ive got to close down now wink

MikeR
Guest
MikeR
July 17, 2008 7:47 AM

No, no, no. That’s just an overhead shot of the soundstage they used to shoot the moonlanding. Interesting piece of trivia: the movie Apollo 13 was shot on those same soundstages.

(I’M KIDDING)

Scena
Member
Scena
July 17, 2008 9:22 AM

No! You folks are missing the obvious. The Japanese are now in on the conspiracy. After all, the best way to keep a secret is to involve several thousand people over multiple decades. Look, you can see the brush strokes in the picture because no real exhaust blast would look that much like a real exhaust blast.

I have it on good authority that the moon isn’t really there either. It’s just a mask for the visiting alien space ship.

Yoo
Member
July 17, 2008 10:53 AM

A mask for a visiting alien space ship? I thought it was an alien space ship. razz

alan
Guest
alan
July 17, 2008 1:30 PM

yall are really weird of cousre there was a landing on the moon…. duuu

bob
Guest
bob
July 22, 2008 4:31 PM

As brain specialist V.S. Ramachandran, the Director for Brain and Cognition, points out in his book “A Brief Tour of Human Consciousness” the delusionist will always rerarrange reality to fit his or her delusion. The mirror neurons in their brains do not function properly and some of them refuse to accept that their own reflection in the mirror is their own. They feel an imposter is in the mirror.

I wouldn’t put all moonhoaxers into this catergory but there is likely a large number of them. Others just like to follow something that appears to attack the scientific establishment they feel is preventing them from obtaining their Nobel Prizes that their egos feel they deserve.

paul
Guest
paul
August 3, 2008 12:15 PM

i’m not sure how that highlight proves that the americans landed on the moon.is the site saying that the highlighted bit is the capsule,because i’ve seen the moon footage,and it doesn’t compare to me.and for the record,i really want to believe we landed,just not sure why anyone would think this is proof.

moonman
Guest
moonman
August 5, 2008 7:48 PM

Of course we wnt to the moon get real. Why in the hell would we lie about such things

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