September 6, 2011 in Nation/World

Astronauts’ tracks, trash seen in new moon photos

Associated Press
 
AP Photo/NASA photo

This August 2011 image made available by NASA shows paths left by walking astronauts, single lines, and lunar buggy tracks, parallel lines, from the 1972 U.S. Apollo 17 moon mission. NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter made this and other photographs of lunar landing sites from 13 to 15 miles above the moon’s surface.
(Full-size photo)

WASHINGTON — A robotic spaceship circling the moon has snapped the sharpest photos ever of the tracks and trash left by Apollo astronauts in visits from 1969 to 1972.

NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter got close enough to see the astronauts’ path when they walked on the moon. The photos also show ruts left by a moon buggy and even backpacks pitched out of the lunar landers before the U.S. visitors returned to Earth.

The photos were taken two weeks ago from 13 to 15 miles above the moon’s surface and show the landing sites for Apollo 12, 14 and 17. These photos offer a sharper look that more clearly distinguishes man-made objects from moon rocks. The closest images are of the Apollo 17 site from 1972, the moon visit.

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