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Apollo 11 Landing Site from LRO

by Bill Anderton

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) is a robotic spacecraft launched by NASA in 2009 and is currently orbiting the Moon on a photo reconnaissance mission. It is in an eccentric polar orbit to photograph and map the entire surface of the Moon.

The LRO three cameras photographed the landing site for Apollo 11. In the picture, you can see Lunar Module Accent Stage that remains on the Moon. Also, you can see the astronauts' footsteps on the Moon's surface as dark paths near LM. The picture also shows the Lunar Surface Camera (on its stand) and the two science packages Armstrong and Aldrin deployed. One science experiment is the Lunar Ranging Retro Reflector (LRRR) which is a reflector that bounces laser pulses from Earth-based telescopes and provides measurements on the distance between Earth and moon. The other instrument is the Passive Seismic Experiment Package (PSEP) which measure seismic waves and looked at the moon's internal structure.

The picture shown below was taken from an altitude of about five miles above the lunar surface.