Bad Astronomy

LROC and stroll

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter continues to knock ‘em out of the park.

Over at Universe Today Nancy Atkinson shows how an LRO Camera image answers a question that’s lasted for almost 40 years: how close did Apollo 14 astronauts Ed Mitchell and Alan Shepard get to Cone Crater before having to turn back due to lack of time? The answer is heart-breaking.

LROC is also finding some things on the Moon we’ve never seen before, or least never had such great images of! Her keen eye spotted what looked for all the world (or worlds) like the track of a bouncing boulder as it fell downslope on the lunar surface. That’s sure what it looks like to me. And she has other very cool images to go with it, too.

With its 50 cm resolution of the Moon, what more will LROC show us? A similar camera that’s been orbiting Mars for years has returned one devastating image after another. So keep your eyes open and trained on LRO. There’s lots more to come.