A NASA spacecraft has snapped some of the sharpest ever images released of the surface of the moon, showing even the tire paths left by astronauts Alan Shepard and Edgar Mitchell on both Apollo 14 moon walks decades ago.
NASA released the new photos of several Apollo moon landing sites on Tuesday, which were captured by its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). The images are of the Apollo 12, 14 and 17 landing sites. All three images show the distinct trails left in the moon's thin soil when the astronauts left the lunar modules and explored on foot.
LRO was built and managed by Goddard.
In the photos of the Apollo 17 site, the tracks made by the lunar rover can be clearly seen along with the last foot trails left on the moon. You cna also see where scientist set up scientific instruments that gave the first insight into what the moon looked like.
We can retrace the astronauts' steps with greater clarity to see where they took lunar samples, said Noah Petro, a lunar geologist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., who is a member of the LRO project science team.
Arizona State University researcher Mark Robinson, principal investigator for the Camera (LROC), said the new low-altitude Narrow Angle Camera images sharpen our view of the moon's surface.
A great example is the sharpness of the rover tracks at the Apollo 17 site, he said in a statement. In previous images the rover tracks were visible, but now they are sharp parallel lines on the surface.
Learn more from the video below: