LRO’s Closer Look at Apollo 11 Landing Site


Here are the first images of the Apollo 11 landing site since the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter dropped into its 50 km mapping orbit. The sun is almost straight overhead on this image so there’s no real shadows visible. What’s great about this image is that we can actually see the footpads on the Lunar Module from which Armstrong made his giant leap for mankind! See the closeup below for more details. The other great thing about this top image is that we get a good look at West Crater, which is the rocky area that Neil Armstrong saw as the LM neared the surface. The computer trajectory would have taken them right in the middle of that boulder field, so Armstrong flew manually to change the flight plan to fly westward to find a safe landing spot. This image is 742 meters wide (about 0.46 miles). North is towards the top of the image.

Enlargement of area surrounding Apollo 11 landing site. Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University
Enlargement of area surrounding Apollo 11 landing site. Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University

At this altitude, very small details of Tranquility Base can be discerned. The footpads of the LM are clearly discernible, and components of the Early Apollo Science Experiments Package (EASEP) are easily seen, as well. Very cool.

Source: NASA

7 Replies to “LRO’s Closer Look at Apollo 11 Landing Site”

  1. That’s easy:

    PHOTOSHOOOOOOP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 😉

    I find it thrilling to be able to see where humans have stepped on the moon. Especially because I am far too young. The real steps were made about 15 years before I was born. That’s a pity (on the other hand: there are many advantages of being young, now 😉 ).

  2. Yeah, great as the Apollo and previous manned programs were, given my druthers, I go for that 15 year or so wait, seeing all the advances being made throughout the electromagnetic spectrum and beyond. Of course, as an 11 year old in 1969, I thought at the very least I’d be in low Earth orbit by now. Wishful thinking on my part.

  3. This is fantastic views of our cultural heritage of immense value. Please don’t stop the photos coming!

  4. I was 16 years old and visiting my Grandparents house in Gardner, Mass. when Apollo 11 landed that summer morning in 1969.

    Its good to have at least one really positive memory from those turbulent times! I ended up watching every minute of every moon landing made… eventually. AND have watched every Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and Shuttle mission televised!

    ‘Pops’ subscribed to Aviation Week and Space Technology.. I still have copies showing the Apollo 11 mission!

    Who’s a spaceflight fan? Anyone?

  5. Actually the NASA landing images are very interesting, specially when light conditions changes. It would be cool to actually land a rover there to see how the materials have changed in the 40 years. The effects of moon dust and constant exposure to th sun on the space craft materials.

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