LRO Takes Second, Closer Look at Apollo 11 Landing Site

Article written: 29 Sep , 2009
Updated: 24 Dec , 2015

. Click for larger version. “]
The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera has taken a second look at the Apollo 11 landing site. These images were taken before LRO reached its science orbit of 50 km (31 miles) above the Moon, but the lighting is different from the previous images it took of this region, providing more detail and a whole new look at this historic site. This time the Sun was 28 degrees higher in the sky, making for smaller shadows and bringing out subtle brightness differences on the surface. The look and feel of the site has changed dramatically. See below for a close-up view.

.”]NAC image blown up two times showing Tranquility Base [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].
The astronaut path to the TV camera is visible, and you may even be able to see the camera stand (arrow). You can identify two parts of the Early Apollo Science Experiments Package (EASEP) – the Lunar Ranging Retro Reflector (LRRR) and the Passive Seismic Experiment (PSE). Neil Armstrong’s tracks to Little West crater (33 m diameter) are also discernable (unlabeled arrow). His quick jaunt provided scientists with their first view into a lunar crater.

Nice going LROC!

This article was edited on Sept. 30 to correct a mistake about LRO’s orbit at the time these images were taken.
See our previous article on the first round of LROC’s images of various Apollo landing sites.

Source: LROC

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11 Responses

  1. Torbjorn Larsson OM says

    [world class historical site] Awesome! [/world class historical site]

    Still awesome.

  2. says

    Neat to see that all that exploration occurred within the ejecta blanket of Little West Crater as seen by the slightly brighter oval stretching about 150 m to the left and 100 m to the right, up, and down from Little West.

  3. Kevin F. says

    I can post now! Thanks, Universe Today!

  4. Jon Hanford says

    I thoroughly agree with Torbjorn Larsson OM. The current images of the site are the among the best I’ve seen since July, 1969 🙂 Go, go LRO. BTW, the full-resolution strip of the area can be found at: . Besides the boulder field Neil Armstrong maneuvered around, quite a few large ejecta boulders can be seen in and around crater West.

  5. 2amazing says

    This picture was taken on August 8 orbit 540, when the LRO was not in his lower orbit around Moon
    The most recent photo was released September 5 from orbit 880, and this is not the lower orbit.
    On Sept. 16, the LRO reached lower orbit 1012.; O = D all pictures that have been released.
    On the basis of the filename you can calculate the date that the photo was taken.
    File Name (M1) 04362199 (. TIF) / (60 * 60 * 24) = 50.48841435
    Lauchdate 18-06-09 14:32:12 + 50.48841435 = 8-08-09 2:15:31

  6. RUF says

    Is Little West the “stadium sized crater full of boulders” that Apollo XI had to fly over before landing?

  7. 2amazing — you are correct and I was wrong about LRO’s orbit at the time these images were taken. The article has been corrected.

  8. Member
    Aqua says

    There seems to be a slight ‘lightening’ in the surface albedo near the landing site. Could this have been caused by the landers exhaust as it neared the surface?

  9. theCase says

    Where in the long strip photo is this area?

    I find it infuriating that they (LRO Image site) start off with a nice close up then a jump to a 8 mile swath….. Ah, well, I’m still loving the pics!

  10. 2amazing says

    the case

    Here an example:
    That’s where you have to zoom in to to find Eagle.

    note: all relaesed images has a very low resolution

  11. theCase says

    2amazing Thanks! that helps a lot.

    Just wanted to see the whole site in context of what I’ve read about the final seconds of the landing. (just read the book “Rocket Men”)…

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