One Small Step for Man 45 Years Ago


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Today is the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing on the moon when Neil Armstrong stepped onto the surface and said, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

I found an image of the landing site taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera, LROC, which is actually three high-resolution cameras orbiting the moon on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. I was surprised to learn that my alma mater, Arizona State University, is involved in research with NASA using the orbiter. ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration, launched in 2006 and offers a museum and various tours and activities if you want to check these out next time you’re in Phoenix.

The LROC image is taken just 15 miles above the lunar surface. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin explored an area barely the size of a city block. You can barely detect the paths they made in the lunar dust. Read NASA’s article, Apollo 11: ‘A Stark Beauty All Its Own’, for a description of this historic lunar landing and explanations of the items in the LROC photograph. Later Apollo landings allowed the astronauts to explore greater areas around their landing site. I particularly liked the photo of the Apollo 15 landing site showing the tracks of the Lunar Roving Vehicle. If you’re interested in more NASA images and articles from the lunar landings, find more at NASA’s page, Apollo Landing Sites Revisited.

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