Daily UpdatesScience

LRO (Lunar Recon Orbiter) Strikes Back!

Yes, I was too lazy to type reconnaissance, my bad.  And ok, it’s not “striking back” really as much as it is just doing its job.  The point is LRO has been busy! One objective is to thoroughly map the surface of the Moon.  A nifty side item is to photos of certain areas of interest.  What could be more interesting than the old Apollo sites?  Not a whole lot!  This is important to people like myself who try to combat the small, yet persistently stupid, sect of the population who believe man never went there in the first place.

A few months ago some preliminary photos were released of some of the Apollo sites.  I’ll admit, the resolution was small but it was there.  Also, the Sun has a way of either hindering or helping in bringing out certain details.  In an Apollo XII photo you can see the descent stage and the trails made by Al Bean and Pete Conrad.

LRO photo showing in detail the landing site of Apollo XII.

See the little squiggly lines emanating out from the descent stage.  Yes, those are trails from the footprints!

Well, the photos were amazing in their own right but what was more amazing is that the spacecraft was still in it’s elliptical (commissioning) orbit.  It wasn’t until the middle of September that the final orbit of 31 miles altitude was reached.  And so with that, the resolution of the pictures beamed back have increased.

Take a look at this pic below.  It’s from Google Earth/Moon.  It’s about as clear as mud.  You can kind of make out some blobs that are craters and it’s all grey and mushy.  Very uninteresting from a detail point of view.

This is the area where Apollo XVII landed, not much to see here.

Now, here is roughly the same area (ok it’s not spot on but it’s close enough, I was multitasking a few things).  Now, that is some fine detail.  The blobbiness is gone.  The grey mush gives way to a textured surface.  Right there in the middle is the Apollo XVII descent stage.  The resolution on this photos is about twice that of the previous Apollo sites.

Feast upon the fine detail below:

LRO views the landing site of Apollo XVII

This is more important than trying to rub Hoax Believers (or HBs as they’re known) face in it.  It shows that the camera works, and works well.  I do have to admit though that it’s nice to see this stuff and take to a HB and ask them to explain it.  The typical response is that it was doctored.  I digress, for some, there is no changing their minds.

The more important thing is to keep the people that really believe it was faked from poisoning the minds of others who are genuinely just looking for answers to questions.

Ultimately, it shows that as a human race we can continue to do truly inspiring things when we put our minds to it.  There is a lot more to LRO/LCROSS than fancy photos.  To learn more about the mission, you can read up on it here: http://lunar.gsfc.nasa.gov