Apollo 11

Apollo 11’s landing site is pretty dull topographically speaking, and with good reason - you don’t want your first ever landing on the moon to have to learn how to negotiate mountains and a crater ridden surface on the fly. As a result there isn’t really much to show in terms of dramatic scenery and stunning vistas.

The area also isn’t well covered in high levels of detail by modern probes. India covered a swathe of the surface to the east but it is too far to the east to see any details of the landing area. Only Kaguya and the LRO have imaged it in depth.

Japan’s views of the site are relatively low resolution, but they still good idea of the approach to the site, and you can see the bright halo left by the descent engine burn.

The crater in the centre of the image is West crater. And beyond that is ‘Little West’, to which Armstrong walked and then photographed. The location of the LM is shown by the yellow marker.

The LRO view of the site is much more detailed, as shown here zoomed in more on Little West.

It’s also interesting to look at the area that they flew over with its attendant block field that caused them to land long. Not sure I’d be keen on landing there either.

We can also zoom in to something approximating ground level to make a comparison with this panorama taken from Little West.

The shadow in the top left of the image below is actually the LM, and you can tell that there is a mound where the LM is! While taken at a different time of the lunar day, you can still make out the same basic structure of the crater - including the satellite crater in the middle distance.

If you want to explore the craters yourself, download my 3D models.



Apollo Overview 3D Overview