Brand New Look at Apollo 14 Landing Site

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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.

A closer view of the Apollo 14 landing site. Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University

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.

Closer yet: Apollo 14, as seen by LRO, cleaned up and zoomed in by Carlos Ayala.

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.

Source: LROC

11 Replies to “Brand New Look at Apollo 14 Landing Site”

  1. Wow, footprints form 40 years ago. Apparently the rates of erosion do to solar wind and dancing charged dust particle are next to nothing. We need to go there again to examine it.

    1. One of Shepard’s golf balls going “miles and miles” (estimated ~ 200 – 400 m)? 😮

      Actually I think they may be blown up image artifacts, you have two of those in the large image. (The 2nd in the lower right corner.)

    2. It might be debris blown off the descent stage when the ascent stage took off. Several of the videos showing ascent from the Lunar surface show debris being launched outward quite a ways.

      1. Point. (And no doubt some of the ascent stage thermal sheets could have participated in the initial debris field.)

        And “quite a ways” = “miles and miles”, LOL!

  2. Someone has to do this 😀

    PHOTOSHOP!!!!!!!!!!!

    Incredible pictures. Maybe it’s time to watch Apollo 13 once more…. 😉

  3. Forty years have gone by since Apollo 14 landed on the Moon! Seems such a short time ago! At the rate things are going it’s likely to be as long again before humans step out onto the dusty Moon surface once again! Though the Chinese are considering a human landing & perhaps a permanent base on the Moon long before then!

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