We really haven’t done much human space exploration outside of going to the moon and who knows when we will get back to it, but in the meantime NASA has sent its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter to take some pics of astronaut footprints on the surface.
The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has been imaging the lunar surface from an altitude of about 30 miles up since 2009, where it has collected hundreds of terabytes of images. Just for the heck of it, NASA decided to cut LRO’s imaging altitude in half, from 30 miles above the lunar surface down to 15 miles. Some would say that this is dangerously close and risky. It is. That’s because variations in the density of the Moon start to tug unevenly on the spacecraft, and if it goes down too low it could eventually crash.
But they managed it anyway to take some new, ultra high-res pictures of the Apollo landing sites. They captured images of the Apollo 11, 12, and 15 landing sites at resolutions as high as 25 centimeters (that’s about 9 inches) per pixel. There is lots to see, like the lunar module descent stages, rovers, leftover equipment, and even the footprints of the astronauts. We live in a truly amazing age.