Apollo 14 Hike To Cone Crater

  • Released Monday, February 8, 2021
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Apollo 14 landed on the Moon a little after 3:00 a.m. Houston time on February 5, 1971. The landing site in the Fra Mauro highlands had originally been the destination of Apollo 13 ten months earlier. The site is on the edge of a debris field created by the impact that formed Cone crater, 330 meters in diameter and about 1.5 kilometers away.

On their second moonwalk, astronauts Alan Shepard and Edgar Mitchell hiked toward the crater, collecting samples of crater ejecta along the way. In theory, rocks blasted from the impact that lay closer to the crater were from deeper beneath the surface, creating a sequence that sampled the lunar crust down to the depth of the crater. But navigating to the crater was difficult. It was on the far side of a fairly steep incline and was never visible to the astronauts as they walked toward it, and they struggled to match features on their map with what they saw on the ground.

Images of the site from the Narrow Angle Camera on Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter record the path of the astronauts as a clearly visible trail of darker, disturbed regolith. Although they didn't know it at the time, Shepard and Mitchell came within 40 meters (135 feet) of the rim of Cone crater, close enough to collect some of the deepest ejecta, but not close enough to actually see the crater itself.

This visualization uses LRO images and elevation data to recreate EVA 2, the hike to Cone crater. The camera flies near the ground, along the outbound path taken by the astronauts. Stops along the way are labeled with distance and elevation information. The journey ends by showing how close the astronauts came to a spectacular view of the crater.


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NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio

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This page was originally published on Monday, February 8, 2021.
This page was last updated on Wednesday, May 3, 2023 at 1:44 PM EDT.


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