September 2011 Archives

NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) captured the sharpest images ever taken from space of the Apollo 12, 14 and 17 landing sites. Images show the twists and turns of the paths made when the astronauts explored the lunar surface. At the Apollo 17 site, the tracks laid down by the lunar rover are clearly visible, along with the last foot trails left on the moon. The images also show where the astronauts placed some of the scientific instruments that provided the first insight into the moon's environment and interior." More

- Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) Releases New Image of Apollo 12/Surveyor III Landing Site, earlier post

- Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) Releases New High Resolution Image of The Apollo 14 Landing Site With EVA Details, earlier post

- Damaged Tape and Murky Moon Views (Apollo 11), earlier post

- LOIRP Mentioned at Apollo 11 Anniversary Celebration, earlier post

Searching for Apollo 10's LEM "Snoopy" In Solar Orbit

Hunt for Apollo’s lost dog Snoopy, Skymania

"Astronomers are teaming up with schools to use robotic telescopes over the internet to scan the night sky and find the spacecraft. The telescopes, part of the Faulkes Telescope Project run by Glamorgan University, are in Hawaii and Australia meaning schools can look with them during normal lesson times in the UK."

Bill Muehlberger

Memorial: Bill Muehlberger, University of Teaxs Austin

"The Jackson School community mourns the loss of Bill Muehlberger and extend their condolences to his family. He died of natural causes on Wednesday, September 14. An emeritus professor in geology, he taught at the University of Texas at Austin for nearly 40 years before officially retiring in 1992. He also taught geology to multiple generations of NASA astronauts beginning with Apollo.

"Apollo 18", LOIRP, and Conspiracies

Apollo 18: A Review And Interview With Technical Advisor Gerry Griffin

"People's fascination with space conspiracies has always intrigued me. Facts are irrelevant once someone has made up their mind about something - usually involving the big evil government covering something up - usually evidence of aliens visiting us. I have some personal experience with this via my involvement with the Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) which is being run on a low budget basis outside the gate at NASA Ames Research Center in a McDonalds hamburger joint that closed years ago. The building was free and we were not fussy. With my co-lead Dennis Wingo and a lot of help from NASA and volunteers, we managed to restore images from the original 40+ year analog data tapes at unprecedented resolution when compared to what people saw in the 1960s. More information can be found at the official LOIRP website at http://www.moonviews.com

I bring up LOIRP for one reason: the nature of the original photos and what people imagine they see. Unlike most planetary missions, the Lunar Orbiter probes took their images on conventional film which was chemically processed in lunar orbit, scanned electronically, and the data sent back to Earth by radio. While the automated photo developing process itself was amazing, it had flaws. Often times problems with the chemicals or the gears would leave blobs and strange shapes on the images. ANyone who has spent time looking at the photos knows what I mean.

Well ... some people with over active imaginations have concluded that a secret government agency obliterated certain things to keep us from learning the truth (whatever that might be). Secret moon bases I guess. Others see strange shapes which they have decided are bulldozers or cities. What they never bother to check is the scale of these photos. If there were indeed bulldozers on the Moon these Lunar Orbiter photos they'd be 10 miles high.

When we were getting ready to release the images some of the nutty websites got word and came up with all manner of zany conspiracy theories. My favorite was linking the fact that we were doing this in "McDonalds" with "McDonnell Douglas" and some evil dark conspiracy. The fact that they can't even note the difference in the spelling of these names says a lot. They also made a lot of the fact that ARC's Center Director is a former USAF Brigadier General. Oh yes, and there is that pirate flag I hung in the window - that didn't help either."

NASA Announces Media Teleconference on New Apollo Images

NASA will host a media teleconference at noon on Tuesday, Sept. 6, to reveal new images of three Apollo landing sites taken from the agency's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO. Teleconference participants are:

-- Jim Green, director, Planetary Science Division, NASA Headquarters, Washington
-- Mark Robinson, principal investigator, Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera, Arizona State University, Tempe
-- Richard Vondrak, LRO project scientist, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

To participate in the teleconference, reporters must email Nancy Jones at nancy.n.jones@nasa.gov with their name, media affiliation and work telephone number by 10 a.m. on Sept. 6.

Supporting information and visuals for the briefing will be posted at 11:45 a.m. EDT Sept. 6 at: http://www.nasa.gov/lro Audio of the teleconference will be streamed live on the Web at: http://www.nasa.gov/newsaudio

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RECOMMENDED BOOKS

Moonrush: Improving Life on Earth with the Moon's Resources
Moonrush: Improving Life on Earth with the Moon's Resources

The Kaguya Lunar Atlas: The Moon in High Resolution
The Kaguya Lunar Atlas: The Moon in High Resolution

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Mission
Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Mission

Lunar Orbiter Photographic Atlas of the Near Side of the Moon
Lunar Orbiter Photographic Atlas of the Near Side of the Moon

The Far Side of the Moon: A Photographic Guide
The Far Side of the Moon: A Photographic Guide

The Clementine Atlas of the Moon
The Clementine Atlas of the Moon

The International Atlas of Lunar Exploration
The International Atlas of Lunar Exploration

Voices from the Moon: Apollo Astronauts Describe Their Lunar Experiences
Voices from the Moon: Apollo Astronauts Describe Their Lunar Experiences

Apollo: Through the Eyes of the Astronauts
Apollo: Through the Eyes of the Astronauts

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