MAKING TRAILS

LPOD-July18-09.jpg
right image by LROC News System [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University]; left image from Lunar Planetary Institute.

We did go to the Moon. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has now photographed shadows of Lunar Modules (LM) on the surface. The most remarkable image is this one - right side - that shows the abandoned descent stage of the Apollo 14 Antares LM, the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiment Package (ALSEP), and a path made by astronauts walking between the two. The left image shows what these paths look like from the ground. The dark, disturbed trail was made by Apollo 14 astronaut Ed Mitchell who walked 90 m beyond the ALSEP, trailing a geophone wire that carried the signal from a thumper that generated small seismic signals to probe the upper skin of the lunar crust. The narrow trail west of the ALSEP is just visible in the LROC image. Apollo 14 astronauts pulled a rickshaw like wheeled toolbox, the Modularized Equipment Transporter, which helped create the paths.

Chuck Wood

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