April 8, 2008

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First And Almost Last

image by George Tarsoudis, Alexandroupolis, Greece

Humanity's first and one of its last human contacts with the Moon occurred in the area captured in this image. Apollo 15 did land a crew of lucky astronauts near Hadley Rille in late July, 1971; only Apollo 16 and 17, Luna 18 to 24, Lunar Prospector, SMART-1 and Hitan have touched the Moon since. That list seems long but the last three missions touched the Moon the way Luna 2 did, as high speed impacts. George points out that the distance between Luna 2 and Apollo 15 is about the same as separates New York and Philadelphia. That is true for the nominal crash site for Luna 2 but it may have actually hit the Moon much closer to Apollo 15. In his International Atlas of Lunar Exploration Phil Stooke suggests that reported observations of a dark dust cloud imply the crash was near the small crater where the mountain shadow touches the line in this image. If so the distance between the future Apollo 15-Luna 2 Museum end points may be only 38 km, a little less than the distance between Alexandroupolis and Komotini, in the part of Greece that George calls home.

Chuck Wood

Technical Details
see image

Related Links
Rükl plate 22
George's website

Yesterday's LPOD: Two New Rilles?

Tomorrow's LPOD: Is It Really There?



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