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January 8, 2010 Permalink

Images from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) was launched in June, 2009, and is currently orbiting the Moon around its poles at a low altitude of just 50 kilometers (31 miles). The primary objective of the LRO is to prepare for future lunar exploration, scouting for safe and compelling landing sites, potential resources (like water ice) and more. The high-quality imagery used in the mapping of the lunar surface is unprecedented, and a few early images have included detailed overviews of the landing sites of several Apollo missions, some 40 years after they took place. LRO is now on a one year mission, with possible extensions up to five years. Collected here are several recent LRO images, and a few then-and-now comparisons of Apollo landing sites. (18 photos total)

Near the lunar north pole, many craters on the floor of Peary crater experience permanent shadow inside, and some have permanent illumination on the higher crater rims. Peary is a key exploration site for future astronauts due its proximity to potential resources. Image height is 9 km (5.5 mi). Image acquired July 11th, 2009. More (NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University)
more photos
This page lists only comments and the first photo for the entry.
To see the entire entry, with all photographs, click here.

135 comments so far...

#10 and #15 the best

Posted by Angar January 8, 10 12:38 PM

Buzz should punch more Lunar landing skeptics in the FACE.

Posted by Anonymous January 8, 10 12:40 PM

Beautiful pictures!

Posted by mike January 8, 10 12:40 PM

"And the moon. We have measured for it mansions. Till it returns like an old curved palm tree branch."(Quran)
The moon orbits earth in 27 days, 7 hours, 43 minutes and 11 seconds. The moon’s orbit around the earth traces a sinuosity. While the earth travels around the sun, the moon revolves about the earth in a variable orbit, tracing a curvature, a sinuosity, a spiral. The same face is always presented to the earth. The curve it traces is reminiscent of a curved branch.
The simile beautifully describes the orbit traced by the moon about the earth.

Posted by moon declining like a curved palm tree branch January 8, 10 12:47 PM

These are really fun to look through. If you're into lunar exploration, I recently made a Photosynth of a lunar buggy at the Museum of Flight in Seattle. You can look at it from multiple sides and zoom in to see some details.

Check it out here:

Posted by Ken January 8, 10 12:56 PM

These pictures spanning decades of lunar exploration remind me how great we can be when we set out to understand rather than conquer.

Posted by buckaroo January 8, 10 01:00 PM

We have so little energy on earth we trap the Moon's Tidal power to heat homes in Ireland and England. The oil that allowed th audacity of these shots on the wane, we seek a replacement and find none, not even in the Canadian Tar Sands. Such a valuable liquid fuel so squandered by mankind with such inefficiency. We regret is passing and seek an electric answer from Nuclear, Solar Wave Wind, Tidal, geothermal sources, so we can visit once again, and satisfy our undying curiosity.
What is on the other side of the Moon anyway? and will we rest until we know? Curious monkeys we certainly are!

Posted by Uncle B January 8, 10 01:02 PM
Posted by Kit Plummer January 8, 10 01:03 PM

Awesome mix of new and old photos. Thanks for all the explanations and relations of old and new pics. I think I would have passed out standing on the moon. I mean, it's the freakin' moon!

Posted by Christian January 8, 10 01:03 PM

It might be worth noting that there is a reconstruction of the old formerly lost tapes of the Lunar Orbiter from 1966 is on the way. See the Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project

Posted by MaBl January 8, 10 01:24 PM


Posted by Anonymous January 8, 10 01:59 PM

Amazing pics as ever. Such a stark reality up there. Wonder if we'll ever go back.....hope so....

Posted by human being January 8, 10 02:06 PM

Big Picture, you are good at what you do. NASA, ditto.

Posted by Drew January 8, 10 02:49 PM


Yeah, a curved branch, or a curved apple, or a curved banana, or anything else that is curved...

Posted by mdmadph January 8, 10 03:14 PM


Posted by German January 8, 10 03:21 PM


Posted by Harshal January 8, 10 03:39 PM

#18 must be one of the most powerful images ever taken. Everything you have ever seen or known is right up there and here you are, on this grey dead place exploring the surface of the moon, quarter of a million miles away.

Posted by Mike January 8, 10 03:53 PM

Fake! ALL FAKE! just kidding, those pictures are great.

Posted by Luis Sanchez Saturno January 8, 10 04:06 PM

And an additional benefit is that we have several rovers on the Moon waiting for us. All we need to do is bring new batteries.

Posted by bpg131313 January 8, 10 04:11 PM

What Drew (#13) said.

Posted by SEC January 8, 10 04:13 PM

Quisiera ser tan alto com la luna.
Hey hey!! como la luna, como la luna.
Para poner los cuernos a catalunya,
a catalunya!!

Posted by Joan Laporta January 8, 10 04:28 PM

Uncle B (#7) is an fool if he thinks that oil was used as the fuel for the rocket that launched the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. The Solid Rocket Boosters are a mixture of Ammonium Perchlorate (Oxidizer) and Aluminum (Fuel) and the liquid fuel is Liquid Oxygen (Oxidizer) and Liquid Hydrogen (Fuel). Also, his comment about finding alternative sources of fuel as a replacement to oil can be debunked here as well (we are just trying to find safe ways to use hydrogen in vehicles since it is extremely volitile). Sometimes AGW lovers need to get their facts straight before posting comments like this that they have no knowledge of.

Posted by NASA Engineer January 8, 10 05:06 PM

Thanks for sharing these incredible pictures with me.Grandma

Posted by Mildred Foster January 8, 10 05:35 PM

The only thing better than this website that offers spectacular pictures and story is the links to other pictures--Thanks!

Posted by Lux Eterna January 8, 10 06:33 PM

#15 is the best!

Posted by Ankur January 8, 10 07:10 PM

Great pictures from then and now. LROC is providing terrific stuff.

Posted by Matt Collister January 8, 10 09:44 PM

Awesome. Magically Awesome.

And a punch in the face to those Lunar Landing Sceptics from me, too.

Posted by David January 8, 10 10:00 PM

Big Picture - Beautiful shots again! Thank you for going to the moon for us and take wonderfull picture!

Posted by Maxime January 8, 10 10:05 PM

Wow, who knew the Arizona desert could be so beautiful?


NASA your feats of four decades ago continue to inspire awe, curiosity and wonder. Let's hope we can find the resources and will to go back to the moon and to venture beyond. Soon.

Posted by Jason January 8, 10 11:02 PM

If mankind could harness the collective will to address today's earthly problems in the same way that NASA confronted the challenges of space travel, we would all be much better off.

Posted by AdamG January 9, 10 01:18 AM


Posted by kaboel January 9, 10 01:24 AM

excuse me,but the apples donot grow in bunches and if you have ever come across an apple tree or banana tree or atleast have common sense,the stalk of apple is not thin like that of the datepalm fruitbunches,the shape of the crescent,so anything curved is not used.

Posted by not just anything curved January 9, 10 03:26 AM

How many more lunar photographs do we need?

Posted by Lunacy January 9, 10 05:33 AM

@#7 (NASA Engineer)

Before you call someone an idiot, you should double check first.

>Ammonium Perchlorate (Oxidizer)

Where do you think the hydrogen for ammonia synthesis came from? It came from fossil fuels.

>and Liquid Hydrogen

From fossil fuels, again.

You're not much of an engineer to not know this.

Posted by Boyle M. Owl January 9, 10 06:47 AM

The shots showing the sites of previous landings were especially interesting, but I hope that one day we will return to the moon's surface to pick up after ourselves.

Posted by JR January 9, 10 08:04 AM

For #22 the LRO was launched using an AtlasV booster the first stage uses RP-1 as propellent and Liquid Oxygen as oxidiser. RP-1 is basically very pure kerosene and is derived from oil.

Posted by Jormagandr January 9, 10 09:27 AM

The comments in this thread are as beautiful as the moon itself and the way it has captured our imaginations :)

Posted by Sahba January 9, 10 01:32 PM

Amazing shots. Humbling.

Posted by twitter/veeoh January 9, 10 01:49 PM

While these new pictures are "nice", we should expect something for the hundreds of millions of dollars NASA spent to get them.

NASA still suffers from no clear cut mission, inadequate funding for the things they are pursuing and a bureaucratic culture that does little to inspire young minds (nor older minds as well).

Posted by Rick January 9, 10 03:52 PM

Thanks! That's one conspiracy theory down, an unfortunate multitude to go.

Posted by Jeff January 9, 10 04:31 PM

If earth is 5 times bigger than moon, then why earth seems to be of same size as moon, when moon looked from earth .....can anybody explain??? I mean earth looks smaller though it should be bigger!!

Posted by rose January 9, 10 04:34 PM

there are kids in this great space probing country of ours that will go to sleep on our planet tonight -hungry -this is an awesome waste of money in a very hard economic time -mothball NASA -USA if you were down to your last $10 would you buy a ticket to Star Wars or a sanwich? DUH!

Posted by Jack Kelleher January 9, 10 05:25 PM

What the hell are we probing for? Most of this work was done in support of Apollo, and any new questions could be answered by the use of Earthbound tools! I am astonished by how out of touch, any government program can be! We need pretty pictures? Who are we selling? What a waste of MONEY!!!

Posted by cdrpat January 9, 10 05:30 PM

if the moon has no atmosphere, why can you see the earth in the pics, but not the stars??

Posted by adam January 9, 10 07:38 PM

Brilliant...and not a single star in the background where Earth is visible...

Posted by Doc January 9, 10 07:57 PM

@ #43

Im no proffesional but its my understanding that the LRO is there to map out future landing sites, if we go back to the moon it will be for geological reasons (how the solor system was formed) and to possibly, in the future establish a lunar base for further manned flights to other planets, so..although its expensive to send up there, i dont its waste of money at all.

One question if any experts are reading, is the LRO going to get any closer and take further pics of the landing sites??

Posted by DaveJay January 9, 10 07:59 PM

response to comment 43; As the poet Robert Browning said “Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?” . If you want rocket scientists you've got to build rockets. If you want the stimulate our children as well as the economy tell me a better way than this. All of the money for Apollo was spent on Earth. In 500 years Apollo is probable all we will be known for.

Posted by John Andrews January 9, 10 08:44 PM

it is interesting to see the earth like a moon from the moon. Great pics, the big picture, you really make your website an international, i often see comment from people over the world

Posted by oscar shu January 10, 10 12:12 AM

@ # 43

NASA gets a minuscule budget in comparison to defense and financial assistance for our economy. Scrubbing NASA would nearly nothing to help the economic challenges that many in the United States face. If you want to turn your back on what is one of the most exciting sources of information into the most basic fascinations of the human race then fine but find a better reason than to buy more sandwiches.

@ # 46

While I appreciate your gusto, perhaps you should pay closer attention to your spellchecker. "Solor" is not a word, solar is the proper spelling. Yes I'm a grammar Nazi when it comes to educated discussions like this one. Having said that you make a great point about the purpose of the LRO. It isn't there to debunk the conspiracy goofs, though it has already done so many times over.

Love the photos, has my space-stoke level pinned. Long live manned space exploration!

Posted by Josh Stodola January 10, 10 01:51 AM

@44, 45: The pictures were exposed for daylight illumination (from the Sun), so the stars are very underexposed. You can even try that effect yourself with a camera set to, say, 1/125 s at ISO 100 and shooting the night sky. This has nothing to do with the presence of an atmosphere.

Posted by Martin Winter January 10, 10 03:05 AM

at 14 and 32: as we look at the stars, and admire the teamwork, vision, and unity that brought about the titanic feat of ripping away from the earth and its pains, you argue over the shape of fruit. so blind. you are stranded on earth by your own petty arguments. ignorant religions that focus on semantics.
as though the koran being 'beautiful' excuses its ignorance, and as though your criticism of the koran based on a fruit metaphor makes your belief any more valid. learn a lesson from the men on the moon... and maybe we'll get mankind past the planets. first we must get past our pettiness.

Posted by David January 10, 10 03:32 AM

Adam and Doc
Only the daylight side of the Earth is visible in the pictures. Nothing can be seen of the night side. We only see stars here on Earth when it is dark. The stars are so much fainter than the correctly exposed day side of Earth that nothing can be seen of them. In order to see the stars the rest of the image would need to be over exposed.

These images are brilliant!

Posted by Lindsay January 10, 10 05:16 AM

Great pictures
@Rose #41
It all depends what focal length they used for the lenses - theres no atmosphere, so the queues our brains use for distance are all wrong. This will make all of the photos look different.
I'm sure the astronauts noticed that the Earth was bigger in the sky, than the Moon looks from Earth.
#43 They don't send the money up into space you know - except for a few thousand dollars worth of metals and plastics and the burnt up fuel - it's money spent on Earth. If the Governments didn't spend it on this which develops science and Technology, they's probably just spend it on a couple more armoured divisions.
People don't go hungry because of money spent on space.

Posted by JupiterIsBig January 10, 10 07:33 AM

My maiden name is Moon, so I've always had an affinity for the old girl. Consequently I am always infatuated with pictures of her, so this collection is right up my alley.

However, these pictures remind me how shafted most of the astronauts who landed on the moon were. Face it, we all know Neil and Buzz; most are familiar with Allen Shepard. But Pete Conrad? John Young? David Scott? and the others? Simply footnotes for most folks. And what a shame; they too, have stood on another world. Something many, if not all, of us will never do.

Posted by Alli January 10, 10 08:34 AM

If you're a moron who believes that the landings were a hoax, try reading this article:

If you're a moron who thinks that space exploration is a waste of money, try reading this article:

Posted by WillCAD January 10, 10 09:05 AM


Posted by A friend January 10, 10 09:21 AM

Absolutely love these images! They prompt a stirring of envy, within, that few other offerings could.
As for naysayers, give your collective heads a shake. Jack, the word is sandwich and, yes, I would spend my last $10 on Star Wars (a movie episode first, then some version of the military effort in hopes that it leads to more productive outcomes) because the vision, hope and concept will stay with me a whole lot longer than consumed bread and filling, and if I die of hunger for that decision I will simply be controlling what is going to come eventually anyway. Conspiracy theorists, do your best because you have a job ahead of you.
It will never cease to amaze me how so many folk cannot see past the tip of the fingers of their outstretched hand.
I sometimes comment the online stories posted by our local newspapers, and read other's comments. What an eye-opener to be faced with the variety of opinions and understandings - or lack thereof - that exist in communities! Politicians should be required to read such comment opportunities for an hour a day as part of their mandate, and voters should be required to log at least 10 hours of such before they are permitted to cast a ballot, LOL!

Posted by Tégu Galpa January 10, 10 12:14 PM

The moon is a harsh mistress

Posted by Travis January 10, 10 09:01 PM

Should not the Earth look bigger in 15 & 18?
It's the size of moon from earth but since moon is way smaller than Earth, it should have looked way bigger than that.

Just a thought.

Posted by Waqas January 11, 10 12:56 AM

Our journeys to the moon were a great high-water mark for human civilization. I love these pictures, both the old and the new. Something quite poignant about seeing the Apollo landing sites.

And what about that crazy nuts aluminum foil and cardboard lunar lander ? Anyone who doesn't think those astronauts had the courage of lions needs to chew on the nature of that frail little vessel.

As to the naysayers and cynics: enjoy the negative hell on earth you live in. The rest of us have our eyes on the skies.

Posted by Stanley Krute January 11, 10 01:23 AM

how many manned missions did NASA have back in the day?? I just don't understand, we were able to go there so many times and the technology were all lost now? its amazing how they have to try hard to do it again, like learning to walk again not because you had a terrible accident but because you stayed in bed sleeping for 50 years.

Maybe thats not what happened, I haven't been following NASA closely, someone can explain this to me, but it just seems illogical, don't they save the blueprints? Why do we have to go back there again and taking so long? I thought it should be just the President saying "Damn, we'll be up there next month and show the world we are still great!", and bang! next month NASA launches a couple of dudes and ladies and their monkeys to the moon to build a vacation resort for the president, thats how it should be done!

Posted by eric January 11, 10 02:47 AM

Scrivi il tuo commento qui ... Magnifico!

Posted by michele January 11, 10 03:11 AM

Why are all the NEW photo's of the LLM landing sites i.e. - photo's 7 & 13 not as clear as all the other NEW photo's. Look, don't get me wrong, these photo's (the high res ones) are absolutely brilliant. I would like to see high res ones of the actual landing sites too. It is an amazing feat that we can send orbiters to the moon....afraid to say though that this does not prove that MAN has set foot on the moon!

Posted by Brett King January 11, 10 03:28 AM


Wide angle lens


shooting at f11 1/200 sec make impossible to register on film the star light.

Posted by Latene January 11, 10 07:03 AM

I'm only 28 yeras old, and looking at this series, I suddenly imagined for the first time of my entire life what those folks must have felt up there.
This quiet thus sad atmosphere, and the Earth, our Home, so far away, maybe they were expecting no return.

This feeling overwhelmed me so much I almost felt a shiver down my back.
Such a wonderful thing that Mankind did this.

Posted by Marico January 11, 10 07:21 AM


Posted by FailedProtostar January 11, 10 08:56 AM

@63 - The difference is resolution. The "brilliant" shots cover many miles of terrain. The landing site shots are probably a mile or two across. To fill the frame like this, you've got to zoom in close. If your lens isn't long enough to do this, you crop the photo to zoom even further. As you crop, you lose pixels and the photo gets fuzzy.

Posted by Jeremy January 11, 10 09:03 AM

I remember that day well. We couldn't believe men were really up there. So amazing, even now.

Posted by JoLyn January 11, 10 11:33 AM

Fascinating, and beautiful in a very inhospitable way.

Posted by Laurel January 11, 10 12:52 PM

yes,i almost agree with u,it felt a little foolish fighting over the shape of the fruit and the moon.sometimes,we have to just set aside the differences and learn to respect each other.
those people who really got the chance to be up there on the moon,to be able to look down on the earth,oh,that would be an incredible sight indeed,i'd love to be there too,if it were not for the risks and the homesickness,it is a once in a lifetime opportunity.hats off to all those astronauts who have taken up the brave endeavour.
when Noah(upon him be peace) said to his people""What is it with you,you donot expect anything great from your Lord,and He created you in stages,have you not seen how God has created the seven heavens one upon another,and He placed the moon therein as its bright light and the sun as its lamp.""(Quran)it is something we have got to wonder at,that moon which seems so lifeless and so dull,is the one which we see up in the sky like a light,the sun which gives us just the right warmth and heat is a huge ball of gases,how God holds them up in the sky..
again,thank you,Big Picture,for these great pics that makes us explore and learn and grow with wisdom.

Posted by let us then not argue January 11, 10 01:06 PM

This was such a good country before 1 Reagan and 2 Bushes

Posted by rg January 11, 10 02:35 PM

I am a curious monkey too. Would I agree to a mild assessment, call it a Moon Tax, to send another mission to the moon? Yes. If there are 100,000,000 tax payers, and each would agree to contribute one penny per day ($3.65) dollars per year for the next three years, this would create a billion dollar nest egg to explore the moon again. I would contribute this, and more.

Posted by George Olson January 11, 10 02:36 PM

This was such a good page until @71.

Posted by Pi January 11, 10 04:41 PM

@59: it's common to overestimate how large the Moon appears in our own sky, because there isn't a good reference. It actually does look smaller in our sky than the Earth does in the Moon's sky. But it's very difficult to tell this from photographs, which generally do not show the whole sky and thus rob you of any reference points which you could use to make an accurate comparison.

Posted by Calli Arcale January 11, 10 05:28 PM

Damn! Once again these shots throw me into my personal quandary. There's NOTHING as awe-inspiring as human space travel, the epitome of which (so far) is humankind walking on the moon. Yet there are so many other pressing needs here on Earth. -- I come out on the side of spending the money here at home if it will keep people alive, keep people safe, keep people healthy. But I grieve the fact that thus spending the money, we can't get "out there" as these pictures so beautifully and inspiringly typify. Damn!

Thank you for this frustrating inspiration.

Posted by Ed January 11, 10 05:56 PM

@ 49 Thank you for pointing out my spelling mistakes, dont think there was any need for it though really, good choice of adjective 'Nazi'

@ 55

Great links, very interesting stuff,

Here's a link i found interesting

Posted by DaveJay January 11, 10 06:19 PM

Those are cool pictures!

Posted by Nicholas January 11, 10 06:19 PM

I'm a graduate student in mass communications, a supporter of science, and an advocate for all kinds of space exploration. I just want to say that I wholly support space exploration and I think most Americans do too, even to the point they would donate ten or twenty bucks a year to make it happen (I'm poor as hell, and I would donate).

Plus, it's not the poor and hungry (as some posters on this board might have you believe) who are going to be disadvantaged over such government funding - it's the fat and well-funded elitist cancers that walk all over the American people whose vast monies would be (ever so slightly) infringed upon. Sorry you can't afford another Lexus this year, we've got to advance the human race through space exploration.

Posted by Chance York January 11, 10 06:28 PM

#14 shot of Lunar Rover is great.
Hope they left the keys in it!
Good opening shot for the next Mad Max movie.

Posted by AndyP January 11, 10 07:57 PM

where are all the stars? im confused

Posted by dave January 11, 10 08:31 PM


Your comment and unwanted criticism adds nothing to this thread. I resisted responding to your comment but your arrogance was too much to ignore.

You mentioned that you’re a grammar Nazi, but then proceed to commit several mistakes yourself. Your punctuation and sentence structure is pathetic. Take your own advice and check your own comment before posting

Posted by Mark January 11, 10 10:09 PM

To dave @80:

How many stars can you count during the day, besides the sun? Think about it.

Posted by Jeremy January 11, 10 11:30 PM

[quote]where are all the stars? im confused[/quote]

Then you're obviously not a photographer. This is basic Photography 101.

The day side of the moon is very brightly lit by the sun. Not only that, but the lunar surface is highly reflective, kicking back a much larger portion of the sunlight than the Earth's surface does.

To properly expose the film, the camera opened the camera's iris only a small amount for a very short period of time; if the iris opened wider, or for a longer time, the bright light of the environment would have overexposed the film and the whole pic would have been pure white.

Because the iris is open for a short time with a small aperture, the light of the stars, which are far, far dimmer than the sunlight, is not sufficient to expose the portion of the film that it struck when the shutter fired. Therefore, the stars don't show up on the pic.

To simulate this phenomenon, take a pic in a brightly lit outdoor environment like a desert or a snowfield. Place a small flashlight like a Maglight Solitaire in the frame, at a distance, pointing toward the camera, and see how much of the flashlight's light shows up in the pic.

Posted by WillCAD January 12, 10 07:12 AM

great big deal ¬¬
in 2001 we should have already been on mars but instead US politics got intrested in war
so the great humanity is now stuck on moon , doing what ? entertaining the public while gaza people are killed
i just love this world
humanity sold themselves long time ago , so don't expect nothing important to come
theres no pint in looking above , the god or whatever it is has left us to rot

Posted by sinhaoief January 12, 10 11:19 AM

In the past, the Earth has been hit by space objects, which have caused great damage to the environment -such as the large meteorite which landed in the Gulf of Mexico, and wiped oit the Dinosaurs and other speciesabout 65 million years ago. The Sun could increase its radiation and heat our atmosphere.
We live on a relatively small rock, exposed to many dangers, so it is wise to find possible new homes in case of catastrophe. These are the first small steps, and well worth the money, in the long run.

Posted by Herb January 12, 10 12:46 PM

Nobody "left us to rot". Whether we grow beyond our own problems and petty disputes, or whether we wallow in war and poverty is entirely up to us. Whether we burn every combustible substance on the Earth to fuel our cars and televisions is entirely up to us. Whether we look to the moon and beyond, or whether spend the rest of our days contemplating our own growing bellies is entirely up to us.

Exploring the frontiers of space and the frontiers of knowledge is one of the ways we prevent the rot.

Posted by RickK January 12, 10 12:46 PM

Look at picture 15 and 18 and tell me why the earth looks to be the same size in the sky as the moon looks from Earth? The Earth is 6 times larger than the moon, so the Earth should be 6 times larger when looking at it from the moon as compared to the moon from Earth. Just makes me wonder.

Posted by skeptic January 12, 10 01:24 PM

Well when i look to the sky i see Stars....

Little shine (white Points)... When i take pictures to the sky at night (dark) the stars appears in my pictures :D

But when i saw pictures of Space i see them Too...

bUt in All this photos... and the photo we see the Earth... Neither one "Little white/color shining Point" ...soo whats Wrong here? ... :S strange for me....

but maybe is only me, the pictures are very good... except for that

Posted by Luis January 12, 10 02:38 PM

Looking at these beautiful pictures, I can't help but wonder how many morons out there still think we faked the lunar landings.

Posted by Joel January 12, 10 09:46 PM

skeptic: It's very easy to take a photo that shows a celestial object at different sizes. In the above pics, the Earth looks no bigger than the moon looks in many photos taken from Earth, but if you do a Google image search for the term, "earthrise", you'll plenty of pics in which the Earth, photographed from the moon, looks much bigger. Similarly, if you search for the phrase, "huge moon", you'll see some photos of the moon taken from Earth that make it look much bigger than you're familiar with.

In other words, the above photos are not at all unusual and are not conspiracy theory ammunition for anyone with a sound, investigative mind, willing to understand how photography works.

Posted by Matt January 13, 10 03:45 AM

I always love great astronomical photos, whether from ground-based telescopes, Hubble, or sets like this one. I especially love #8--how'd you like to walk out into THAT? My God...if I could do that, you could kill me afterwards, because there's nothing better than that! Big Picture--if you get any more photos like these, PLEASE post them! I can't get enough of these...

Posted by Andy January 13, 10 10:39 AM

@ #61,

The problem is that the blueprints call for components and such that we haven't built in years and years, and aerospace contractors don't like idling a massive assembly hall and support facilities for a few decades. It isn't not knowing what is needed, but being able to get the parts and a suitable facility to put them together.

In addition, you really don't want them going down to the local temp office and hiring a few hundred workers randomly to put them together. You want people who have experience and know-how if possible. Remember that there were a bunch of test Apollos before they actually sent someone up in one, adding systems in to ensure the increasing complexity didn't get out of hand and worked properly.

We also have different (hopefully better) materials available today, which means the old schematics aren't necessarily the best possible. I think I once read several years ago that NASA's cost at putting a payload into orbit was about $10,000 a pound, so escape velocity would be even more expensive. In addition, the heroic era of space flight is over with and they'll probably insist on aftermarket airbag attachments for the lunar rovers to keep the risk management folks at bay. With forty plus years of advances to incorporate, I'd imagine they are actually re-working all the schematics to try to make manned missions to the Moon and Mars "safe" and "affordable."

There's a reason "rocket science" is talked about for its complexity. It probably would take a decade to get someone up there from a standing start, even without distractions from other problems.

Posted by Aaron January 13, 10 08:42 PM

Great and marvellous pictures!They make us feel so small in front of Allah the Creator of the Universe.Allah creates all the stars,planets,and everything in this universe to explore by man.

Posted by siswondho January 14, 10 04:08 AM

Luis @88:

Of course. If you point a camera at the night sky or at space, it'll open up the aperture and use a long exposure time to pick up the faint light sources, stars. If you do the same with something bright in the frame, it'll favour that and use a shorter exposure and smaller aperture, exposing the bright object correctly but not picking up enough light from the stars to show them at the same time. Take a look at photos of night-time sporting events in floodlit stadiums - you'll see no stars, or at best only a few of the very brightest stars in the sky, just as we see in the moon photos (contrary to those claims, some of the lunar surface photos *do* have a few stars faintly visible in them). Also take a look at photos of the Earth from space (actual photos, not photo composites or computer-generated images) - again, where the daylit side of the Earth is in frame, there will be few or no stars visible in the surrounding space. It's not strange, it's just an inherent limitation of cameras.

Posted by MPG January 14, 10 06:32 AM

finalmente delle immagini che mostrano in modo incontrovertibile che siamo andati sulla luna. Questa estate ho visto una bella mostra sullo sbarco della Luna e c'erano delle immagini simili. La mostra è itinerante e a marzo sarà a Castel Fidardo in provincia di Ancona.
il sito è

Posted by Pietro January 14, 10 06:37 AM

Sooooooo awesome!

Posted by A.R January 14, 10 01:56 PM

WOW!!!! Amazing Photographs. Number 18 is a fantastic Image.....with Earth in the background...simply beautiful. We truly are just a grain of rice in this Universe.

Posted by Bobby J. January 14, 10 01:57 PM

Beautiful. Thank you so much for putting this before our eyes.

Posted by Joanne R January 15, 10 03:19 AM

Pic # 15 is astounding .. :)

Posted by Vijayanand A January 15, 10 03:35 AM

nobody gets it!?

'7 as imaged from the LRO mapping orbit on October 5th, 2009' crappy low res.

5 LRO spacecraft,, overview image of a portion of the northern rim from the southwest on October 11th, 2009 super Hi-res.

Both are LRO imaging 2009....

Posted by someguy January 15, 10 09:16 AM

#92 ...and don't forget they did the engineering almost entirely with slide rules. The Apollo astronauts carried them on board as well. See:

for images of Armstrong's, Aldrin's slide rule (Pickett) as well as Wehrner von Braun's and Sergie Korelev's (Nestler 23R).

Posted by slipstick January 15, 10 12:02 PM

As for those who say we should spend the money here and not on exploration - well, why does that comment never get applied to the money spent on professional sports, reality tv, clothes, fancy cars, and on and on.

The same criticism was made in the 60's - I remember - but even the full Apollo program spent far less in a year than was spent on cosmetics or clothing.

Part of being human is to travel over the next hill, to see what is past the next bend in the road. When we no longer do or care about that - we're in the process of dying.

Posted by JohnN January 15, 10 07:57 PM


Posted by Alan January 16, 10 06:25 PM

Man does not live by bread alone - These NASA pictures show that and I hope that they can continue to explore the solar system.

Posted by John January 17, 10 02:13 AM

It's impressionable.

Posted by Jeanne le petit pipi January 19, 10 11:16 AM

this picture is impressive!! I have never seen pictures like that!

Posted by louise la soumise January 19, 10 11:18 AM

Imagine a permanent Moon based station much like the International Space Station and the International Antarctic stations today. The International Moon Station will be comprised of many scientists from around the world conducting a multitude of experiments including similar particle accelerator experiments like the LHC in Europe. These experiments will prove to better space exploration and better understand space environment, further expanding our reach into the Solar System.

Oxygen on the International Moon Station will be supplied by large greenhouses which will also supply food in the form of fresh vegetables for the scientists. The main source of funding for such great endeavors will come from mining minerals deep within the Moon's crust which holds a wealth of riches unknown to human kind. These minerals will be harvested in use to further space exploration.

In the 21st Century, humanity finds itself at a technological and ideological crux, where the decision to either keep destroying ourselves over petty, narrow-minded points of view of long-ago will be superseded by the technological advancements of tomorrow that will allow us to not conquer nature, rather find a way to live in harmony with nature. After all, nature is not only on Earth, it is the entire Solar System and the Universe. We are all made of the the same stuff.

If we look at the last 100 years and see the exponential discoveries humanity has made in science and technology, we can begin to realize the immensity of these discoveries. The awareness that humanity has strived and accomplished for centuries from the first philosophers only a few thousand years ago to the philosophers of tomorrow. The questions remain the same; What is out there? Where did it come from?

We are a young species, barely at the outer rim of our existence in a very large ocean expanse we call space, still unexplored, still calling to the explorers.

I liken these astronauts from the Apollo missions to the first explorers of six and seven hundred years ago that dared set sail across oceans of doom. Aldrin, Schmitt, Armstrong, Bean and Conrad are the modern day da Gama, Dias, Gomes, Eanes and Fernandes of early explorations of sailing routes to India. Who will be the future Columbus, or Magellans of space exploration tomorrow? The ones that dare go further and farther than anyone else, driven by the need to explore. Consumed by the intrinsic quest of all humanity to understand our universe and the self within.

Unlike the economic, religious, and political motivations of the 15th and 16th Century explorers, space exploration of tomorrow will be a global effort, one sanctioned by all leading countries of the world and in the name of peace and science. For this reason and purpose, a new conglomerate of space research engineers will form, like the International Space Station, these engineers, scientists, and forward thinkers will lead the way to our next world-changing discoveries.

Posted by mars rover January 21, 10 03:54 PM

its great.

Posted by samuel mbote njoroge-fiture aeronaaaautical engineer(needs any help) January 24, 10 05:28 AM

Is it not strange how the photos are all crystal clear except for the one's with the "gear we left behind". Kinda like the blurry video and photos of bigfoot.

Posted by Dave January 24, 10 09:42 AM

0ribabky in most of your lifetimes, people will soon enough re-visit the moon, unfortunately not for good intentions of exploration.
This is the last intranet post I will be able to make, I have violated conform.

Posted by Fed up dude from the future. For Real. January 24, 10 11:02 AM

Que lejos se divisa la hipocresia humana!!.
Quina experiència!

Posted by Antoni Gil January 24, 10 03:47 PM

still the greatest country on this planet...

Posted by Phil January 24, 10 07:43 PM

Jack Kelleher: Not one more child is going to be fed simply because a 'Luddite' like you has his way. Exploration and adventure speaks to what is the very best about human beings and only someone without any real spirit would feel as you do. I feel sorry for your pathetic self.

Posted by tom d. January 24, 10 11:10 PM

c'mon... it's just f****'in rock..., barren, i'm f****'in not interesting

Posted by Gtuzbluzk January 25, 10 05:58 AM

Who it's beautiful

Posted by Sw_ez January 26, 10 09:52 AM

i like it

Posted by piriyanth January 26, 10 10:31 AM

it is realy beautiful. i thing one day, we will go to mars. just pread to load

Posted by joseph January 26, 10 11:12 AM

ok, the stars are not visible because the moon surface is very bright. however, the astronauts were there for DAYS (check the text). how it that we NEVER see a picture made during a MOON-NIGHT, with the EARTH visible with STARS???

Posted by balage January 26, 10 05:09 PM

BECAUSE, NONE of the Apollo missions LANDED on the NIGHT SIDE of the MOON. They were ALL specifically TASKED with landing on the DAY SIDE so the SUNLIGHT would provide ENOUGH illuminations for the astronauts to SEE what they were DOING without the NEED for ARTIFICIAL illumination, which would have USED too much of their limited ELECTRICAL power.

Posted by WillCAD January 27, 10 08:27 PM

Thanks NASA. These are wonderful.

Posted by Stevewillhite February 1, 10 03:17 PM

Great pictures, thanks for share to we can know more about the moon. The last picture is wonderful, a view of the Earth from the moon!!, only for that i would like go to the moon!...well and to see the stars closer...

Posted by Claudia Richwine February 10, 10 02:25 AM

Are you kidding me people? Please drop the stupid conspiracy questions... look at the pictures of the landing sites. WE LANDED THERE!

I saw three questions in the posts that are common misconceptions when you have a very limited science knowledge or you watch too many movies like Armageddon and think its real.

1. No stars in the pictures ( There would be no stars in the pictures, you would have to overexpose the picture and everything except for the sky would be white blobs. When you look up in a city there are less stars then if you look up in the country. There is no elaborate trick here it is just that your eye adjusts its internal exposure settings to let more or less light in depending on what it needs to see properly. You can see this quickly when you walk into a dark room after being in a bright room. Slowly as you stay in the dark room you will start to see more details as your eyes adjust their exposure to the dark.)

2. Size of the earth in the pictures. (There is nothing special about these photos. Different angles and lenses have different effects. I know i am a photographer.)

3. How come the astronauts were never on the night side of the moon. ( It takes 28 earth days for the moon to have a day. The moon is tidally locked, the same side of the moon always faces earth. The astronauts would have had to be there for weeks for the night to fall where they landed.)

Please remember movies are not good places to get your science from they are total crap. (Cars don't blow up when you shoot them.)

Posted by ahuman February 16, 10 04:13 PM

Why does the Earth look so small in the photographs? Ever tried taking a picture of the moon from earth? It's just a dot unless you use some serious telephoto.

Posted by Paul February 16, 10 04:26 PM

photo # 15, avian fossil

Posted by john b. mitchum (natural self) February 19, 10 09:13 AM

i don`t know if there`s a DAY when you see your planet`s shadow on earth . So there was a night :)

Posted by half_god @82 February 24, 10 06:39 AM

for whatever it is worth i know another possibility with the size of the earth from the moon and vice versa is the earths atmosphere acting as a giant magnifying lens. i would assume the moon doesn't have the same issue hence a smaller and probably consistent looking sized earth.

think about those giant harvest moons we sometimes see...its magnification (in case any of you think we actually ever get closer to the moon. haha)

Posted by stacy March 29, 10 07:49 PM

Space agency NASA is greatest there ever was, thanks to NASA over the image and education about space that you provide on the U.S. and the world!

Posted by Muhammad Ilham April 7, 10 03:34 AM

ur the rock

Posted by Anonymous April 19, 10 02:45 AM

It is incredibly sad that so many people see NASA as a "waste" of money. NASA's budget is MICROSCOPIC compares to the billions of dollars wasted DAILY on our unsupportable wars. You want to help the hungry people of this country, fix health care, repair the infrastructure, and solve all the rest of our problems that need money to fix them? Cut the military budget in HALF and you can do all that and more...and we'd STILL be spending more money on "defense" than any other nation on our sweet green Earth.


Posted by Sparrowhawk May 16, 10 04:45 AM

I think this is very cool. I love that we are a nation of explorers. I think NASA is a great thing, I only wish they would concentrate a bit more on developing usable (space travel) technologies for the private sector. The R&D is alarmingly expensive for space travel, but once developed by tax dollars and placed into private hands, the real (private sector) space race can begin. Lets roll man! I want to get out there in my lifetime ..if I can!
Also, if your reading the comments below...#42 is short sided, lacks imagination, and is mentally my opionion. I agree with # 129.
Alll Aboard!!

Posted by Austin, Phoenix AZ May 23, 10 11:43 PM

photos are interesting and I can always appreciate the historical value of them and the people that made this exploration and experiments happen

Posted by teresa griffin October 13, 10 04:42 PM

Great pictures
71 kind of ruined the comments but doesnt matter.

Posted by Frank November 24, 10 07:44 PM

Great pics...we're finally rid of the fake landings conspiracy theory. How powerful a telescope would be needed to see the landing site from Earth? And what are the exact coordinates? Now, the next step is to debunk NASA's "Life on Mars" coverup. Please!!

Posted by Tinker Bell November 29, 10 07:18 PM

@118 Have you ever looked at the moon and noticed that you ALWAYS see the same face? The moon orbits the earth once every month (approx), it also rotates on it's axis once per month so that the same side is always facing us. This is becuase of something called Tidal Lock and is why only Apollo astronauts and satellites have seen the 'dark side of the moon'. So...the lunar day is about an earth month. Pick any spot on the moon surface and you're going to get about 15 earth days of daylight and 15 of darkness.

This isn't hard to understand. My daughter learned this in 6th grade.

The Apollo missions were planned so that the landings took place during that daytime period. There was no 'lunar night' during any landing.

Posted by Stevie G in Maryland January 17, 11 11:44 PM

Any moron who thinks the moon landings were real, this website showed a picture that proves they were fake. The lunar rover has no tire tracks... FAIL NASA

Posted by vincent April 4, 11 05:25 PM
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