Apollo 11 | Landing Site Views

Many stories and programs have documented the history of the Apollo 11 mission 50 yrs ago. My favorite was on Amazon Prime. The 93 min program used only original footage and audio, edited smoothly together, with no actors or narration. It was as I remembered the events.

Fellow blogger and amateur astronomer, Roger Powell in Australia, posted images he made of the landing site at Tranquility Base as viewed through his telescope. Please take a look. His views prompted me to view the landing site from the perspective of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. LRO has been in low lunar polar orbit since 2009. Instruments map and survey temperatures of the entire surface in high resolution. They will provide information to help plan future lunar missions.

Apollo 11 landed in the Sea of Tranquility labeled in this NASA image. The site cannot be seen from Earth.

The LRO has flown over that spot many times and returned long narrow strips of high resolution images. I viewed one of those image strips and gradually zoomed in to a closer view of the site. Trails of footprints by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin are still faintly visible 50 yrs after they walked the Moon.

These still images provide a scale to give a sense of how far the astronauts ventured on that short moonwalk. Later missions carried along the light weight car which allowed astronauts to explore farther sites and gather more rock samples.

This image labels the camera on tripod, base of the Landing Module, the LRRR reflector array, and the PSEP seismic equipment. The image was made more than 40 yrs after the mission. Evidence of their visit will remain a long time.

The administration has set a goal to return to the Moon in 2024.

    • The program called Artemis has a deadline of less than five years.
    • There are technical, political and financial challenges to be overcome.
    • Many experts think the ambitious goal will not be reached.
    • China is very interested in sending people to the Moon by 2035.
    • Is this the beginning of a new Space Race?

12 thoughts on “Apollo 11 | Landing Site Views

  1. I do hope you and Melanie can visit us sometime. I’ve been privileged to know many astronauts and it would be fun to share the stories. Of ignominious note, Apollo 11 landed on my first day of officer Candidate School. Our beneficent tactical officers rousted is our of bed and herded us into the company day room where we stood at parade rest in front of a flickering B&W TV to witness what may be mankind’s greatest engineering achievement.

    • I would enjoy hearing your stories. They were/are an interesting bunch. There are 7 born in Iowa. The most noted is Peggy Whitson.

      Your viewing of the moon landing was rather rigid. I’m glad you witnessed it. I was in my parents’ house that evening. I was about to begin my teaching career.

  2. I still remember walking outside to look at the moon, almost unable to conceive of what was happening. Have you come across this website? It’s purported to be a minute-by-minute account — I just heard about it yesterday, but it certainly sounds interesting.

    I was sitting at my desk last night when I heard something that sounded like fireworks. It was fireworks, over at the Johnson Space Center, ending the celebration that had been happening there. I walked outside and enjoyed the show, straight across the lake from me. It was a good one.

    • I did not know about that website. I will explore it in the days to come. Thank you. The movie on Amazon I mentioned is also by the same person.

      I would have enjoyed those fireworks, too. Good you were able to see them.

  3. Now that we have all honoured and reminisced about the brave men who NASA sent to the Moon in the Apollo missions, I hope that we can turn our focus towards the future of human space exploration.

    We need to break out of Earth orbit again and it’s great to know that NASA has committed to a woman being the next to set foot on the Moon.

    It is also my hope that NASA will continue to include international participants – including astronauts – in their Artemis programme and beyond.

    As for your last comment, I have been speculating myself whether we are witnessing a new space race. With the Chinese already landing probes on the Moon, Russia still in the mix and private organisations involved, I strongly suspect that a new race is on.

    Jim, thanks for mentioning my Tranquility Base post and providing a link. Your gesture is much appreciated.

    • I do look forward to that day when she sets foot on the Moon, or Mars. Yes, the international component is important. It is challenging. The costs are high. The big missions need all the brainpower possible.

      Your post was the perfect lead-in for mine. I loved those photos.

      Have a good week ahead.

  4. I hope we’re back on the Moon within the five-year target. The sooner, the better. After reading and seeing all the 50th anniversary-prompted first-hand accounts, both official and personal experience, I would, somewhat selfishly, like to have the experience of following a manned mission to the Moon as so many of you did who remember the Apollo program.

      • That must have been a great time to be a kid. Space was the last frontier, and you saw the first artificial objects in orbit.

        Space still is a frontier in a sense, but compared to my childhood defined by the Shuttle program, a repeatable ferry process for experiments and satellite maintenance, it’s just not as exciting in that context.

        Let’s also hope today’s NASA remembers the lessons of the past. Politics aside, manned flight safety should be the limiting factor to the timetable.

  5. It’s really awesome we can actually see those landing sites, and also it’s a perfect answer for the people who believe lunar landing was fake.
    Thanks for sharing these pictures. 🤗

    I have written a post on lunar landing commemorating the 50th anniversary. If you’re interested in reading it, I am leaving the link here: https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/146548494/posts/1927

    Thanks !

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