Planets and Moons  ID: 4770

From Apollo Sites To The South Pole

The Apollo program landed six pairs of astronauts on the Moon between 1969 and 1972. All six landing sites are at low latitudes, near the equator. In this visualization, the Apollo sites are contrasted with the South Pole, an area with enormous potential for future exploration. Time passes as we zoom toward Shackleton crater at the South Pole, revealing illumination conditions quite different from those near the equator. While many craters remain in permanent shadow, some nearby mountains and ridges are in persistent sunshine, making them attractive candidates for solar power and long-term habitation.

The remaining visualizations on this page show the illumination at the lunar South Pole throughout 2024, at several different scales. The year begins in the middle of South Pole summer, with the subsolar latitude near its greatest southern extent. As the year progresses, the shadows begin to deepen until mid-year and South Pole winter, when the subsolar latitude is at its northern extreme. The full range of the Sun's apparent motion in latitude is only about 3 degrees, versus 47 degrees on Earth, but this is enough to have a substantial effect on the amount of sunlight reaching the lunar poles.

Visualization Credits

Ernie Wright (USRA): Lead Visualizer
Noah Petro (NASA/GSFC): Scientist
Laurence Schuler (ADNET): Technical Support
Ian Jones (ADNET): Technical Support
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio

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Data Used:
LRO/LOLA/Digital Elevation Map
Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter/LRO Camera/Natural Color Hapke Normalized WAC Mosaic
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.

SVS >> Landing Site
SVS >> Moon
SVS >> Hyperwall
SVS >> Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter
SVS >> Apollo Missions
SVS >> Moon >> South Pole
NASA Science >> Planets and Moons
SVS >> Permanently Shadowed Regions