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?