40 years ago this week, the Apollo 14 crew landed on the Moon. Here’s the latest look at their landing site, just downloaded from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter’s Narrow Angle Cameras. Even though LRO has imaged this area before, this seems to be a much better, crisper view of the lander and the ALSEP experiment package left of the Moon by Al Shepard and Edgar Mitchell. Also visible are the tracks left where the astronauts walked repeatedly in a “high traffic zone” and perhaps by the Modularized Equipment Transporter (MET) wheelbarrow-like carrier used on Apollo 14. Below are a couple of close-up looks at the image.
The LROC folks say that every time LRO passes overhead the different landing sites, the Sun is at a different position so each image gives a different perspective. Additionally, since the position of the lunar modules and other pieces of hardware are very accurately known, the LROC team can check the accuracy of the mission-provided ephemeris.
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Thanks to UT reader Carlos Ayala who sent in this this sharpened and enhanced “closer” close-up. He captured the original image on the LRO site, and “using CS3 I enlarged the area and applied a Bicubic smoothing filter to the re-sampled image. The resulting image is set to 1200 x 1200 pixels,” he wrote us. Click on the image for a larger version.
You can compare the old images with this new one.