Total Pageviews

Sunday, July 21, 2013


Neil Armstrong upon the Moon's Sea of Tranquility as he prepares to head back to Earth, July 1969.

Neil Armstrong's spacesuit patch while he was on the moon
EAGLE’S PARKING SPOT--Forty-Four years ago on this date, the Apollo 11 crew, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins were making history as NASA’s amazing work force combined to land human beings on the planet.  Few if any engineering/technological accomplishments have rivaled moon walking for capturing the world’s attention.  Of course, the creation of the Internet ranks high on our list of human endeavors, but today discussion here is reserved for the moon landers.

Those of us, who witnessed the moon events on TV easily recall where they were.   My family and I were watching the landing with friends on Menlo Avenue in San Diego.  I remember being teased for holding our 15 month old son in front of the television so he could tell his family and friends that he saw with his own eyes men on the moon.  Silly as it seems, he did witness world and lunar history.  Humans left the planet, landed on another object in the universe and returned alive.

For the first lunar landing, many of us learned that day that Mare Tranquilitatis (Latin for Sea of Tranquility) was the site picked because of its flat surface.  But satellite photos later revealed the moon has few places that aren’t pocked by craters.  On that first landing, Neil Armstrong had to manually pilot the Landing Module to avoid a sharp-rimmed crater 180 meters wide and 30 meters deep.  That crater is called simply “west” and on July 21, 1969 it was “wild west.”
LM image on the moon taken by orbiting LROC satellite in 2009.

LM landed safely some six kilometers from the original intended landing site.  How amazing is that?  Six meters off target after traveling through the void of space.

The Apollo 11 LM landed about 400 meters west of West crater and 20 kilometers south-southwest of the crater Sabine D in the southwestern part of Mare Tranquilitatis.  Reports from the LM crew said the lunar surface at the landing site consisted of “fragmental debris ranging in size from fine particles to blocks about a meter wide.”

Apollo 11 is now part of a moon parking lot.  The Surveyor 5 (USA) spacecraft is approximately 25 km north-northwest of the LM landing site and the impact crater formed by Ranger 8 (USA) is 68 km northeast of the landing site.

Four decades later, the Apollo 11 site has been photographed by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) between July 11 and 15, 2009.
The image on this blog with the arrow is the  image of the Apollo 11 landing site with the descent stage of the LM in view and its shadow indicated by the arrow.

Source: and the Smithsonian Institute

See more cool stuff that Apollo left on moon that's still working today (scroll lower).
Satellite image taken in 2012 of Apollo 11 site

See Moon Landing Video from NASA

Video from LROC satellite focusing on Apollo 11 landing site

LRRR.  That's the Lunar Laser Ranging Retro Reflector experiment left on the moon by Neil Armstrong about an hour before leaving.  The LRRR reflects laser pulses from Earth to this day and is a way to learn the exact distance between Earth and Moon at time of pulse.

Discarded Cover.  Dust cover that was removed and discarded from the LRRR.

PSEP.  This seismic recording package failed after 21 days on the moon.  Later PSEPs left by other astronauts functioned well.

LM.  Lunar module descent stage.

50 m.  Most of the Apollo 11 landing site fit within a 50 x 50 meter area.  See photo above.

Little West Crater.  In image above footsteps of the astronauts are visible from the LM to Little West Crater directly to the right.

No comments:

Post a Comment