February 9, 2005

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Postcard from the Moon


Image Credit: Russ Urry

Postcard from the Moon

Mom and Dad - Well, I've been up here 10 days now and still find the reduced gravity to be the most amazing part of the whole trip. It was a little scary at first because I'd bounce so high, but now it's really fun to feel like I have super powers! The course on lunar geology is exciting – it’s so amazing to jostle around in the ground transports, and even more so in the ballistic exploration vehicles - they give such an awesome, but brief, view of the countryside. We have been able to land inside Copernicus and visit the central peaks (which are uplifted olivine rocks from the lower crust - see, I am becoming a geologist)! We almost got lost driving around the Marius Hills - they all look alike, at least at first, but then we learned to tell the difference between the steep ones and shallow slope ones (ha - they are all pretty steep when you are in a space suit!). We finally found the Marius Rille and followed it back to the Procellarum temporary base - its pretty flat and boring there! Tomorrow we are going to do a detailed mapping of the Tobias Mayer Dome to check if that Italian guy Raf's measurements from shadows gave the right answers. Can you imagine, that is how they tried to understand lunar topography 20 years ago - before Bill Gates bought the Moon and turned it into an education field school and amusement park? Gotta go - the Chinese kids are hosting a Lunar New Year party in a lava tube tonight! I love Luna! Your loving daughter, Sally PS - please send more chocolates on the next shuttle!

Chuck Wood

Technical Details:
All of the individual images that make up this composite photo were taken with a Meade LPI imager at prime focus of a 400mm telephoto lens (72 mm aperture). Each combines 50 or more individual exposures. The lunar cycle is laid out in a "figure eight". The compositing work was done with Adobe Photoshop. The images did not all come from the same lunar cycle but were taken at various times during 2004. The most exciting thing for me (besides the fact that I can take this kind of photos as a relatively inexperienced amateur from my own backyard!) is the clear effect of libration and the apparent size of the moon at different points in its orbit.

Yesterday's LPOD: What's Happening at Aestuum?

Tomorrow's LPOD: Peaky Piton

Author & Editor:
Charles A. Wood



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