National Historic Site

Jul 17, 2009 1:43pm

40 years after Apollo 11 went to the moon, NASA is back with a ship called Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO — and one of its first assignments was to look for what Apollo left behind.Each of the Apollo Lunar Modules (there were six landings in all) left behind their descent stages, including their landing legs, main rocket engine and fuel tanks.  LRO, from an altitude of about 30 miles, was able to make out the Apollo 11 descent stage as a dot — about 20 pixels in all — with a long shadow.  The result is this image — not high resolution, but remember that they've picked out an object about 12 feet across, a quarter of a million miles from Earth. LRO has also found four of the five other Apollo landing sites, and you can find the pictures HERE. Look carefully at Apollo 14 and you can make out the tracks left by a wagon on which the astronauts piled their tools and rock samples.The astronauts' discarded equipment could conceivably remain for eons, baking and freezing as the sun rises and sets, but otherwise almost undisturbed in the vacuum of space.

You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus