What if Apollo 11 Landing Happened Today?

Written by The Night Sky Guy on July 22, 2009 – 10:00 am -

Here is a neat interpretation of what American TV news coverage would be like if Armstrong and Aldrin landed on the Moon in the 21st century. Tip of the hat to Nasawatch.com for this amusing find.  Enjoy!

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New: Apollo Landing sites Up-Close

Written by The Night Sky Guy on July 17, 2009 – 3:02 pm -

Arrow at Apollo 11 Lander

Arrow at Apollo 11 Lander

You have to check out the very cool images of the Apollo landing sites released today by NASA and taken by their new lunar probe- Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.  You can clearly see the lunar lander descent stages casting long shadows on the ground. 

NASA states in its announcement, “The image of the Apollo 14 landing site had a particularly desirable lighting condition that allowed visibility of additional details. The Apollo Lunar Surface Experiment Package, a set of scientific instruments placed by the astronauts at the landing site, is discernible, as are the faint trails between the module and instrument package left by the astronauts’ footprints.”

But wait, NASA is saying that in the next couple of months the orbiter will get an even closer look – 2 or 3 times better resolution images once it is in a stable orbit of 50 km above the lunar surface.  I wonder what more we’ll see then?

Apollo 14 Landing site with footprints and instruments visible

Apollo 14 Landing site with footprints and instruments visible

Take a peak at the rest of the hi-rez images released today on the official NASA webpage.

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Radio Show: Apollo Anniversary and Moonwatching

Written by The Night Sky Guy on July 14, 2009 – 5:45 pm -

Coming up on my next CBC Radio One column tomorrow (Wednesday) we talk about the upcoming 40th anniversary and legacy of Apollo 11’s first human landing on the Moon. We will also chat about the plans in the works by different countries on returning to the Moon and how backyard skywatchers can best marvel at our closest celestial neighbour.

Tune in to the drive-home show between 3 pm and 6 pm on your city’s local CBC Radio One station.

Here are some resources that can help you further explore the Moon from your computer and backyard.

Below is a quick-and-dirty full disk map of the moon showing the locations of each Apollo landing site. You should be able to spot these with a pair of binoculars. Apollo 11’s site is easy to find even with the unaided eye as it is located on the rim of the Sea of Tranquility, which is one of the dark patches clearly visible on the Moon. This is a nice, easy viewing project you can do with the family.

Numbers represent Apollo missions

Numbers represent Apollo missions

More links:

printable naked-eye map of the Moon with facts

Moonwatching basics

Interactive digital Lunar Atlas

NASA’s Digital Lunar Orbiter Photographic Atlas

NASA website on humans returning to Moon

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Lost Moon Recovered

Written by The Night Sky Guy on June 17, 2009 – 8:37 pm -

Here is what I call the ultimate in data recovery. Hi-rez images of the Moon, including the Apollo 12 landing site were taken by a lunar orbiter back in 1967 (couple of years before the mission) and stored on its tape drives, only to be dusting away for decades.  Now before they are totally lost to history they are being recovered- and they are yielding spectacular imagery of our closest neighbour. These photos will hopefully be useful in planning for potential landing sites for future human missions. 

 Check out digitized, salvaged versions that shows off amazing details of the lunar surface the public has never seen before. Tip of the hat goes to nasawatch.com for this cool find.

Posted in Solar System, Space Exploration, The Moon | 1 Comment »