Apollo landing sites: 40 years later!

I’ll keep this simple, as you can get longer writeups at Universe Today, Bad Astronomy, and the NASA site, but a NASA spacecraft currently orbiting the Moon just released images of five of the six Apollo landing sites.

Why am I so excited about this? Because you can see the Earth-junk we left there! There’s the lunar module from Apollo 11:

the one from Apollo 14 (Apollo 12 was out of the way, and Apollo 13 — of course — never made it onto the Moon):

and from Apollo 15:

Apollo 16:

and Apollo 17:

Go back to Apollo 14. There’s something spectacular that you can see on the Moon in that image. See that other bright white dot in that image? See the darker lines that run back and forth? Those are astronaut footprints and science instruments that we put there!

In three days, we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the first manned Moon landing, and I can’t think of a better set of images to remind us of arguably our greatest achievement as a species.


  1. #1 NewEnglandBob
    July 17, 2009

    Wonderful pictures.

  2. #2 Hank Roberts
    July 17, 2009

    Thank you! It’s fun comparing these to the ground truth from the mission photographs — the image above shows the lander next to a crater, and here’s an Apollo 16 panorama:

  3. #3 Kevin W. Parker
    July 17, 2009

    Somebody’s spotted the rovers.

  4. #4 Tony p
    July 17, 2009

    Hopefully the naysayers won’t call fake on this one. Of course we had men on the moon in the 1960’s.

  5. #5 Diablo
    July 17, 2009

    Photo shopped!!! Its all a conspiracy. Come on…we went to the moon before we could microwave a burrito? Who are you protecting?!?! I getting back to my box behind the 7-11 before the men in black show up….I’M ON TO YOU!!!

  6. #6 Cambrico
    July 17, 2009

    I don’t need to be convinced. My argument with any denialist is: “how many people were pointing their telescopes, antenas and whatever they have toward the moon during the voyage and moon landing to confirm everything? Thousands, Millions? All the communist chinese and soviets were ready to discredit everything if they smellest the faintest foul play. Any decent astronomy club or university was looking. Do you think the CIA bribed all those people to keep their mouths shut ? ”
    About the pictures, I am sorry, but I wouldn’t use them to prove my point. I would like to have better resolution as to be able to see the details without arrows pointing to things that look more like rocks that anything else.

  7. #7 CanInternet
    July 18, 2009

    Nice site were you can relive in “real time” the Apollo 11 mission:

  8. #8 ortah
    October 7, 2010

    so these are actual close up shots from earth? any other photos online?

  9. #9 yeah_right
    April 7, 2011

    Moon flight is nowhere in the Bible.

    Why not teach the controversy?

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