New photos released by NASA today are the sharpest ever taken of the Apollo landing sites on the moon, showing the parked lunar rover and the tracks it made. It even shows the research equipment and the footpaths of Apollo astronauts four decades on. Any doubters left?
The images were taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, whose orbit was altered to bring it within 13 miles of the moon's surface for these shots. This image of the Apollo 17 landing site shows where the lunar rover was parked; the thin parallel lines are its tracks. The other paths are where the Apollo astronauts Harrison Schmitt and Eugene Cernan became the last men to walk on the moon so far.
NASA also snapped images of the Apollo 12 and 14 landing sites, showing the scientific equipment all Apollo landing sites set up to collect data about the moon's surface and atmosphere; one photo even shows the cables from the equipment glimmering in sunlight. Funny how 39 years after leaving, we're back to being astronomers of the moon rather than tourists.