NASA has revealed a range of stunning panoramic images to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
Incredible panoramic images of the Apollo landing site were made by stitching together pre-existing photos to create a brand new way of looking at the lunar surface.
Individual images taken by the Apollo astronauts were pulled together by NASA imagery specialist Warren Harold and their accuracy verified by Apollo 17 astronaut and geologist Harrison ‘Jack’ Schmitt.
NASA has revealed a range of stunning panoramic images to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. It includes this panorama view of the Apollo 12 lunar surface
Panorama view of Apollo 15 lunar surface photos south of Station 2 taken by lunar module pilot James B. Irwin. Astronaut David R. Scott, mission commander, performs a task at the Lunar Roving Vehicle parked on the edge of Hadley Rille
‘The Valley of Taurus-Littrow on the Moon presents a view that is one of the more spectacular natural scenes in the Solar System,’ Mr Schmitt said about the images stitched together from his Moon base Station 5 at the Taurus-Littrow landing site.
‘The massif walls of the valley are brilliantly illuminated by the Sun, rise higher than those of the Grand Canyon, and soar to heights over 4,800 feet on the north and 7,000 feet on the south,’ Mr Schmitt added.
‘At the same time, the summits are set against a blacker than black sky – a contrast beyond the experience of visitors from Earth.
‘And, over the South Massif wall of the valley, one can always see home, the cloud-swirled blue Earth, only 250,000 miles away.’
NASA has spent the entire week preparing tributes to the astronauts that walked on the moon for the first time almost 50 years ago on July 20 1969.
Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first two people on the moon and have only followed by ten others since – all American men.
Michael Collins, their colleague who remained in the Colombia module during the 21.5 hours on the moon, was recently back at the launch site in Cape Canaveral.
Panorama view of Apollo 15 lunar module pilot James B. Irwin, using a scoop in making a trench in the lunar soil during the second moonwalk of the mission
An u close image of James Irwin of Apollo 15. The panoramas were made up of various stills taken on the surface (pictured)
Panorama view of Apollo 16 commander Astronaut John W. Young, working at the Lunar Roving Vehicle. John Young and Charles Duke lunar orbit and the mission almost had to be aborted because of a problem with Command/Service Module’s main engine
WHAT WAS THE APOLLO PROGRAM?
NASA photo taken on July 16, 1969 shows the huge, 363-foot tall Apollo 11 Spacecraft 107/Lunar Module S/Saturn 506) space vehicle launched from Pad A, Launch Complex 39. Kennedy Space Center (KSC), at 9:32 a.m. (EDT).
Apollo was the NASA programme that launched in 1961 and got man on the moon.
The first four flights tested the equipment for the Apollo Program and six of the other seven flights managed to land on the moon.
The first manned mission to the moon was Apollo 8 which circled around it on Christmas Eve in 1968 but did not land.
The crew of Apollo 9 spent ten days orbiting Earth and completed the first manned flight of the lunar module – the section of the Apollo rocket that would later land Neil Armstrong on the Moon.
The Apollo 11 mission was the first on to land on the moon on 20 July 1969.
The capsule landed on the Sea of Tranquillity, carrying mission commander Neil Armstrong and pilot Buzz Aldrin.
Armstrong and Aldrin walked on the lunar surface while Michael Collins remained in orbit around the moon.
When Armstrong became the first person to walk on the moon, he said, ‘That’s one small step for (a) man; one giant leap for mankind.’
Apollo 12 landed later that year on 19 November on the Ocean of Storms, writes NASA.
Apollo 13 was to be the third mission to land on the moon, but just under 56 hours into flight, an oxygen tank explosion forced the crew to cancel the lunar landing and move into the Aquarius lunar module to return back to Earth.
Apollo 15 was the ninth manned lunar mission in the Apollo space program, and considered at the time the most successful manned space flight up to that moment because of its long duration and greater emphasis on scientific exploration than had been possible on previous missions.
The last Apollo moon landing happened in 1972 after a total of 12 astronauts had touched down on the lunar surface.
Astronaut Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin unpacking experiments from the Lunar Module on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission. Photographed by Neil Armstrong, 20 July 1969
Panorama view of Apollo 16 lunar surface photos with the buggy and the lander in the background and being ridden by one of the astronauts
He returned to the iconic location on July 16, 50 years to the day since the Saturn V rocket carrying the astronauts lifted off.
Buzz Aldrin was not in attendance and simultaneously there were moves to honour the late Neil Armstrong who died in 2012.
Vice President of the US Mike Pence honoured the late Neil Armstrong in a speech watched by the late astronaut’s wife, son and grandson, Mr Pence praised Armstrong’s courage and ‘incredible accomplishment’.
‘The risks were great, the odds were long, and they were so long that some even feared that if we could make it to the moon we might not be able to make it back,’ he said.
‘I expect it is moving for his family and for every family to remember the dangers and the risks at the time that this spacesuit simply may have been the very last thing that Neil Armstrong ever wore, in fact, there was a time and during that time that scientists speculated whether when a lunar module like this one behind me landed on the moon, whether it would be able to lift off again.
He continued: ‘His courage was displayed perhaps nowhere more profoundly than in the moments just before the Apollo 11 lunar module landed on the surface of the moon, it was that coolness during the original landing that likely saved the lives of the two astronauts that were aboard the lunar module.
‘When the original landing area turned out to be so full of large boulders that landing there would have doomed the mission and the crew, history records again that Neil Armstrong calmly took the control of the module, skimmed across the top of the lunar surface and manually found a safe spot to touch down. By the time he set down, Armstrong and Aldrin had 17 seconds of fuel left remaining. It’s incredible.’
Panorama view of Station 8 and Mons Hadley taken during the third moonwalk of the Apollo 15 mission
WHO HAS BEEN TO THE MOON?
In total twelve people have walked on the moon.
1 + 2. Apollo 11 – July 21, 1969
Neil Armstrong made history by becoming the first person to set foot on the moon.
Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin followed Neil Armstrong on to the surface of the moon. His popular nickname gave itself to the animated characte Buzz Lightyear.
3 + 4. Apollo 12 – November 19 and 20, 1969
Pete Conrad and Alan Bean were the moon walkers on the Apollo 12 mission.
The Apollo 12 crew experienced two lightning strikes just after their Saturn V rocket launched.
5 + 6. Apollo 14 – February 5, 1971
Alan Shepard and Edgar Mitchell who were part of the Apollo 14 mission. They launched on January 31, 1971, and landed in the Fra Mauro region of the moon, the original destination for Apollo 13.
7 + 8. Apollo 15 – July 31, 1971
David Scott and James Irwin landed on the moon and stayed for three days, until August 2nd.
9 + 10. Apollo 16 – April 21 1972
John Young and Charles Duke were the next men to walk on the moon. When the crew reached lunar orbit, the mission almost had to be aborted because of a problem with Command/Service Module’s main engine.
11 + 12. Apollo 17 – December 11, 1972
The final people to walk on the moon were Eugene (Gene) Cernan and Harrison (Jack) Schmitt.
Before he left the moon, Cernan scratched the initials of his daughter Tracy into the lunar regolith. Since the moon does not experience weather conditions like wind or rain to erode anything away, her initials should stay there for a very long time.