Planets and Moons  ID: 3620

Apollo Landing Sites, with Shadows

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.

Visualization Credits

Ernie Wright (UMBC): Lead Animator
Marte Newcombe (GST): Animator
Andrew Freeberg (NASA/GSFC): Producer
Mark Robinson (Arizona State University): Scientist
Richard Vondrak (NASA/GSFC): Scientist
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio

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Data Used:
KAGUYA/Laser Altimeter (LALT)/DEM
JAXA - 2008
Formerly known as "SELENE".
Unified Lunar Control Network 2005 also referred to as: ULCN 2005
Data Compilation - USGS - 1966 - 2005
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.
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.

This item is part of these series:
The Moon
LRO - Animations

SVS >> Moon
SVS >> Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter
SVS >> Apollo Missions
NASA Science >> Planets and Moons