Apollo Landing Sites, with Shadows

  • Released Thursday, July 16, 2009
  • Updated Sunday, January 11, 2015 at 5:25PM
  • ID: 3620

The six Apollo lunar landing sites are all relatively near the equator on the side of the Moon that faces the Earth. Left behind at each site is the lower half of the Lunar Module, called the descent stage. It carried most of the astronauts' supplies and served as the launchpad for their return trip to the Command and Service Module in orbit around the Moon.

LROC, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera, will have a number of opportunities to photograph the Apollo landing sites. Despite the excellent half-meter resolution of LROC's narrow angle cameras, the LM descent stage at each site can fill only a few pixels of these images. If photographed when the Sun is low in the lunar sky, however, the long shadow formed by the descent stage is easily discernable.

This brief animation shows the locations of the Apollo landing sites, with lengthening shadows as each site approaches lunar nightfall. The lighting simulates the angle of the Sun during the second week of July, 2009, when LROC took its first images of the sites. The gold LM markers are about 20,000 times actual size.

No description available.

Print-resolution still image showing Apollo landing site locations with short shadows.

No description available.

Print-resolution still image showing Apollo landing site locations with long shadows.


Please give credit for this item to:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio


This visualization is related to the following missions:


This visualization can be found in the following series:

Datasets used in this visualization

KAGUYA DEM (Collected with the Laser Altimeter (LALT) sensor)

Formerly known as "SELENE".

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ULCN 2005 (A.K.A. Unified Lunar Control Network 2005)
Data Compilation | USGS

The ULCN 2005 (Unified Lunar Control Network 2005) is a lunar control point network that precisely measured 272,931 pieces of data produced by the USGS using existing lunar imagery or data from the Clementine and other observations.

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Note: While we identify the data sets used in these visualizations, we do not store any further details nor the data sets themselves on our site.

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