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| Space on Sep 06, 2011

Sharper view of footprints, landing site, rover tracks on moon

New images released today by NASA show tracks from Apollo 17’s lunar rover – and the last footprints left on the moon by astronauts – from the year 1972.

NASA announced today (September 5, 2011) that its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) – which has been orbiting the moon since 2009 – has captured the sharpest images ever taken from space of the Apollo 12, 14 and 17 sites on the moon. The images show tracks from the lunar rover used in the last Apollo mission, Apollo 17, as well as the last footprints left on the moon by astronauts in the year 1972.

The images show the twists and turns of the paths the astronauts made while exploring the lunar surface.

The image below is from Apollo 17, the 11th and final manned mission in the U.S. Apollo space program. You can see the burn marks on the moon, left by the descent of the lunar module Challenger. You’ll also see tracks laid down by the lunar rover in the Apollo 17 mission, along with the last footprints left on the moon by Apollo 17 astronauts in the year 1972. Plus the images show where the astronauts placed some of the scientific instruments on the moon’s surface.

Image of Apollo 17 landing site on moon released September 5, 2011. Click the image to see a larger version. Image Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/ASU

Read more from NASA, and see more of these images, here

Bottom line: NASA released a collection of amazingly sharp images of the lunar surface on September 5, 2011, taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which is currently orbiting the moon. The images show evidence of the twists and turns of the astronauts moving on the lunar surface, decades ago.