NASA Releases New Apollo 8 Earthrise Simulation Video
“NASA has issued a new visualization of the events leading to one of the iconic photographs of the 20th Century – Earth rising over the moon captured by the crew of the Apollo 8 mission. The photo known as Earthrise is the first color photograph of Earth taken by a person in lunar orbit. Earthrise is the cover photo of TIME’s Great Images of the 20th Century, and is the central photo on the cover of LIFE’s 100 Photographs That Changed the World.”
NASA Google+ Hangout: New Visualization 45th Anniversary of Apollo 8 Viewing Earth from Space
“NASA will host a Google+ hangout at 2 p.m. EST Friday, Dec. 20, to unveil a new simulation of the events leading to the creation of “Earthrise,” one of the most iconic photographs of the 20th century. It was 45 years ago on Dec. 24, 1968, when Apollo 8 astronauts captured the photograph called “Earthrise,” the first color photograph of Earth taken by a person orbiting the moon.”
The First Earthrise Image Makes a Trip Back To The Moon
“On 19 November 2013, the first image ever taken of the Earth rising over the Moon’s surface in 1966 was sent back to the Moon. This historic image, known as “Earthrise”, was taken on 23 August 1966 by NASA’s Lunar Orbiter 1. A full resolution electronic data file over 700 Mb in size containing this image was sent to the LADEE spacecraft currently in lunar orbit and then received back on Earth. The Earthrise image that was sent to LADEE was a restored and enhanced version created by the Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) located at the Ames Research Park at Moffett Field, California. “
– How Life Magazine Revealed “Earthrise” in 1966
– Lunar Echoes on STS-130
Nimbus II and Lunar Orbiter 1 Imagery: A New Look at Earth in 1966
“… the National Snow and Ice Data Center, after seeing the work that the LOIRP team had done in potentially identifying the Antarctic sea ice in the Lunar Orbiter 1 Earthrise image, and recognizing the similarity between the raw data of the Nimbus and Lunar Orbiter data, provided a grant to the LOIRP team to process the Nimbus data into a modern format and to correct image artifacts that are common to both types of images. … On this day, in New York City, just over the Earth’s limb as seen from lunar orbit, the Beatles were preparing to play at Shea Stadium …”
– Beatles Legend Among Those Honored with Mercury Craters, NASA
The Lunar Dust Detector, attached to the leftmost corner of this experiment package left by the Apollo 12 astronauts, made the first measurement of lunar dust accumulation. As the matchbox-sized device’s three solar panels became covered by dust, the voltage they produced dropped.
When Neil Armstrong took humanity’s first otherworldly steps in 1969, he didn’t know what a nuisance the lunar soil beneath his feet would prove to be. The scratchy dust clung to everything it touched, causing scientific instruments to overheat and, for Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison Schmitt, a sort of lunar dust hay fever. The annoying particles even prompted a scientific experiment to figure out how fast they collect, but NASA’s data got lost.
Or, so NASA thought. Now, more than 40 years later, scientists have used the rediscovered data to make the first determination of how fast lunar dust accumulates. It builds up unbelievably slowly by the standards of any Earth-bound housekeeper, their calculations show — just fast enough to form a layer about a millimeter (0.04 inch) thick every 1,000 years. Yet, that rate is 10 times previous estimates. It’s also more than speedy enough to pose a serious problem for the solar cells that serve as critical power sources for space exploration missions.
Continue reading “Rediscovered Apollo Data Measures How Fast Moon Dust Piles Up”
Via Planetary Exploration Newsletter: As part of its work on a NASA-funded Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package (ALSEP) data recovery project, the Lunar and Planetary Institute has scanned a collection of ALSEP-related documents. This archive focuses on the development, deployment, and operation of the ALSEP experiments and currently includes 210 documents with more than 17,700 pages of material.
These documents include ALSEP Systems Handbooks for several of the ALSEP arrays, ALSEP Data Processing Procedures, the ALSEP Archive Tape Description Document, and daily status reports for the ALSEP network from initial deployment in 1969 to termination in 1977. The documents can be searched based on key words selected by the user. This material is available as part of our Lunar Science and Exploration Portal at: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/lunar/ALSEP
Material on this website provides important background information about the ALSEP experiments that may be useful to individuals who are re-analyzing data obtained from the experiments. However, the archive does not include science results from these experiments. LPI intends to continue adding other ALSEP-related material to the website on an on-going basis.
Dennis Wingo: Today we had a real treat. One of my mentors from Huntsville, David Christensen, one of the early members of the von Braun team in Huntsville, came by to visit LORIP today. Dave is one of my hero’s and inspirations for what we are doing here at LORIP. Remember hearing that the Saturn V drawings were lost? Remember that years and years later the story came out that one guy saved them? That one guy was Dave. Dave also has an extensive library of Army Ballistic Missile Agency (Where Von Braun worked) information about the early Saturn designs, the redstone, and space stations.
Dave also has an extensive library of commercial space documentation and he was one of the inspirations for what was called Code C (Commercial) at NASA in the 1980s. Also, he is one of the nicest humans you ever want to meet! Take a look at this picture, can you believe he is 81? He is shown here with our student engineering intern Jacob Gold, bridging the generations of space engineers. The second picture was taken in 1958 and shows Ernst Stuhlinger, von Braun, Hermann Oberth and others seated. Dave is the second from the right standing. Dave published the world’s first space age magazine devoted to telling the public about what was going on in space. One of the covers of “Space” is the third picture. Autographed by Oberth himself!
A model of the Boeing-built Lunar Orbiter, which paved the way for the Apollo 11 mission with its close-up photos of the moon, looks down on a mockup of a lunar landscape at the press center in Houston. (Boeing photo). Larger Image.
“Until more formal U.S. Government guidance is developed and perhaps a multilateral approach is developed to reflect various nations’ views on lunar hardware of scientific and historic value, NASA has assembled this document that contains the collected technical knowledge of its personnel – with advice from external experts and potential space-faring entities – and provides interim recommendations for lunar vehicle design and mission planning teams. As such, this document does not represent mandatory USG or international requirements; rather, it is offered to inform lunar spacecraft mission planners interested in helping preserve and protect lunar historic artifacts and potential science opportunities for future missions.”
Full report: NASA’s Recommendations to Space-Faring Entities: How to Protect and Preserve the Historic and Scientific Value of U.S. Government Lunar Artifacts
“Forty years after the last Apollo spacecraft launched, the science from those missions continues to shape our view of the moon. In one of the latest developments, readings from the Apollo 14 and 15 dust detectors have been restored by scientists with the National Space Science Data Center (NSSDC) at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. “This is the first look at the fully calibrated, digital dust data from the Apollo 14 and 15 missions,” said David Williams, a Goddard scientist and data specialist at NSSDC, NASA’s permanent archive for space science mission data. The newly available data will make long-term analysis of the Apollo dust readings possible. Digital data from these two experiments were not archived before, and it’s thought that roughly the last year-and-a-half of the data have never been studied.” More
NASA Offers Guidelines To Protect Historic Sites On The Moon
“NASA and the X Prize Foundation of Playa Vista, Calif., announced Thursday the Google Lunar X Prize is recognizing guidelines established by NASA to protect lunar historic sites and preserve ongoing and future science on the moon. The foundation will take the guidelines into account as it judges mobility plans submitted by 26 teams vying to be the first privately-funded entity to visit the moon.”
NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Brings ‘Earthrise’ to Everyone
“To recreate this scene, NASA animator Ernie Wright reconstructed the orbit in software, using coordinates from an Apollo 8 mission report and photographs taken by the crew. “Apollo 8 was at 11 degrees south latitude and between 118 and 114 east longitude, with a westward view,” says Wright. “The floor of Pasteur crater is visible in the foreground of the photograph.”
First Earthrise Photo Taken 45 Years Ago Today, Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project
“In 2008, this earthrise image was restored by the Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project at NASA Ames Research Center. We obtained the original data tapes from the mission (the last surviving set) and restored original FR-900 tape drives to operational condition using both 60s era parts and modern electronics.”
Apollo 9 astronaut and Lunar Module Pilot Rusty Schweickart paid a visit to the Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery (LOIRP) facility in Building 596 (aka “McMoon’s) at NASA Ames Research Park today. Pictured (L to R) Keith Cowing, LOIRP-co-lead, Rusty Schweikart, Austin Epps LOIRP, Neulyn Moss LOIRP, and Dennis Wingo, LOIRP co-lead.
Schweickart also signed our FR-900 tape drive as have other distinguished visitors before have done (image below)
Continue reading “Apollo 9 Astronaut Rusty Schweickart Visits LOIRP”
The Apollo 12 landing site in Oceanus Procellarum imaged during the second LRO low-altitude campaign. Image width is 225 m, NAC Image M175428601R [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].
The LRO mission continues to collect observations that are enabling ground-breaking new scientific discoveries about the Moon. As geologists, whenever we look at remotely sensed data collected from another planet, in a sense we are staring back in time. But this is the “deep time” of geology, where we are trying to understand natural processes that (at least on the Moon, anyway) could have happened billions of years ago. But the LRO mission is unique because we can also see human history. Not just any history, either, but one of humanity’s greatest accomplishments, our first steps on another world. Twelve astronauts explored the lunar surface, directly seeing things with their own eyes, making observations, and collecting samples with their own hands. These samples and observations revolutionized our understanding of our solar system.
This “snapshot in time” effect is especially evident at the Apollo 12 landing site in Oceanus Procellarum, now known as Statio Cognitum. Here, you can see the remnants of not one, but two missions to the Moon. Astronauts Pete Conrad and Alan Bean demonstrated that a precision lunar landing with the Apollo system was possible, enabling all of the targeted landings that followed. Bean and Conrad collected rock samples and made field observations, which resulted in key discoveries about lunar geology. They also collected and returned components from the nearby US Surveyor 3 spacecraft, which landed at this site almost two and half years previously, providing important information to engineers about the how materials survive in the lunar environment.
LROC’s best look yet at the Apollo 11 Landing site. The remnants of Armstrong and Aldrin’s historic first steps on the surface are seen as dark paths around the Lunar Module (LM), Lunar Ranging RetroReflector (LRRR) and Passive Seismic Experiment Package (PSEP), as well as leading to and from Little West crater. LROC M175124932R [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].
This image of the Apollo 11 landing site captured from just 24 km (15 miles) above the surface provides LRO’s best look yet at humanity’s first venture to another world. When Neil Armstrong took his famous first steps onto the lunar surface, he kicked around the soil. “Yes, the surface is fine and powdery.” Gazing at the flat horizon, he took in the view. “Isn’t that something! Magnificent sight out here.” After collecting a contingency sample Neil looked around and observed, “it has a stark beauty all its own. It’s like much of the high desert of the United States. It’s different, but it’s very pretty out here.” A few minutes later Buzz Aldrin descended the ladder and joined Neil on the surface of the Moon!
You can see the remnants of their first steps as dark regions around the Lunar Module (LM) and in dark tracks that lead to the scientific experiments the astronauts set up on the surface. The Passive Seismic Experiment Package (PSEP) provided the first lunar seismic data, returning data for three weeks after the astronauts left, and the Laser Ranging RetroReflector (LRRR) allows precise measurements to be collected to this day. You can even spot the discarded cover of the LRRR.
Another trail leads toward Little West crater around 50 meters (164 feet) to the east of the LM. This was an unplanned excursion near the end of the two and a half hours spent on the surface. Armstrong ran over to get a look inside the crater, and this was the farthest either astronaut ventured from the landing site. Compared to Apollo 12 and 14, which allowed for more time on the surface, and Apollo 15, 16, and 17, which had the benefit of a Lunar Roving Vehicle, Armstrong and Aldrin’s surface activities were quite restricted. Their tracks cover less area than a typical city block!