November 5, 2011

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Almost On the Ground with Apollo 15

north to left LRO NAC image by LRO ([NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University)

After hundreds of days of seeing stupendous new hyper-resolution closeups of tiny pieces of the lunar surface, courtesy of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Narrow Angle Camera, it is refreshing to see a new perspective of an object that we can actually observe from Earth. This is, of course, the Hadley Rille, acquired by rolling the LRO spacecraft so the NAC could point across Palus Putredinis to the rille and Mount Hadley Delta. The Apollo 15 Lunar Module touched down left of center, near the top of the image. The site was selected so that astronauts Scott and Irwin could use the rover to sample both the front of the Apennines at Hadley Delta and the Hadley Rille. The rille wall visible on the right reveals lava flow layers, and also the Vee-shaped cross-section. This is a strong modification of what the rille looked like when lava had just stopped flowing along its floor about 3.3 billion years ago. Terrestrial lava channels similar to the rille have flat floors, but movement of rocks down Hadley's walls have buried the floor with talus. Another NAC image gives a closer but still oblique view of the area the astronauts traversed.

Chuck Wood

Related Links
Rükl plate 22
A dramatic westward view looking across the landing site.

Yesterday's LPOD: Way Around the Limb

Tomorrow's LPOD: Internal or Ex?


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