In the center of this image from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, there’s a small object casting a shadow toward the right. That object is the remaining section of the Apollo 11 lunar module, Eagle, from which astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin made history as the first humans to step foot on the moon 40 years ago Monday, July 20, 1969.
Previous images have been taken of the lunar landing sites but none have been able to discern the actual equipment left behind by the missions. Until now.
The LRO is currently in orbit around the moon, and although it is not at its actual mapping altitude yet these images were taken in the hopes that the structures would show up. And they did.
In addition, the sites of the Apollo 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17 missions were also imaged by the LRO. The photos from those can be seen on the LRO site here.
I don’t know what else to say except that this is just…..pretty darn cool.
Image: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Arizona State University