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Unmanned landing sites from LRO, Surveyors, Lunas, Lunakhods and impact craters from hardware impacts
Ian R
post Sep 4 2015, 01:02 PM
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Wow! I wonder if this area was covered by Apollo CSM or Metric Camera photography?


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Phil Stooke
post Sep 4 2015, 02:14 PM
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The crater is only about 2 m across. There are no Apollo images of the area at any useful resolution.

Phil



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dvandorn
post Sep 5 2015, 12:23 AM
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Excellent find, Phil! That's exactly the kind of image I was looking for.

And, see -- once you locate hardware on the surface, the low sun images are actually helpful in characterizing them. The high-sun images would never have implied the amount of the retro-rocket that survived its final plunge intact.

-the other Doug


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Phil Stooke
post Sep 5 2015, 03:19 AM
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I should say that that particular image is one of those taken from the very low orbit a few years ago before LRO moved into its current high orbit. It has a scale of 25 cm/pixel, twice as good as the best we have for any other Surveyor.

Phil


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Ian R
post Sep 29 2015, 09:29 PM
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I have an exciting addendum to Phil's Surveyor 3 retro-rocket discovery, as detailed here:

http://www.planetary.org/blogs/guest-blogs...n-the-moon.html

Last night, I came upon the candidate crater formed by the retro-rocket impact in the Apollo 12 descent film:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NlgGveDiqW4

It first appears at 3:24, is best seen around the 3:39 mark, and goes out of frame at 3:51.

A frame culled from the 16-mm film (shot out of LMP Alan Bean's window), is shown below alongside a crop of the highest resolution LRO frame:

Attached Image


My thanks to Phil for confirming what I think is a rather interesting find: a man-made crater within walking distance of one of the Apollo landing sites!


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Phil Stooke
post Nov 27 2015, 09:43 PM
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OK, it's time to prepare LPSC abstracts for next year. And what do you know, I was working on Surveyor retro-rocket images when I found that my Surveyor 6 suggestion above is wrong, and I found the real thing not far away.

This was the result of looking at Lunar Orbiter images from before the Surveyor 6 landing. LO2 frame 121-H3 reveals that the little spot I identified as the retro-rocket was there before the landing. But another one, the same distance from the lander (300 m) was NOT there before the landing. Eureka! Guess I should have done this earlier. (Unfortunately there are no pre-landing Lunar Orbiter images for Surveyor 1 or Surveyor 5)

Phil

Attached Image


Attached Image


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dvandorn
post Nov 28 2015, 01:23 AM
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Oh, yeah -- it looks like you've definitely nailed it. If that's not the Surveyor VI retro-rocket, it's a very, very coincidental impact of exactly the right size, and in exactly the right place, that came from something else.

I still think the items with the highest cool factor would be to find the impact sites of Surveyors II and IV. I know that at least one of them is likely to be a small field of little craters, since it's likely that its solid-fuel retro exploded. But it would be really interesting to see the resulting impacts. (Doubtful they would be discernible, more's the pity...)

-the other Doug


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Phil Stooke
post Nov 30 2015, 01:56 AM
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On a related note - not a landing site exactly - news of the Apollo 16 SIVB impact location on the Moon:

http://www.leonarddavid.com/found-impact-s...6-rocket-stage/


The location was very uncertain. I don't have coordinates yet.

Phil


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Phil Stooke
post Dec 14 2015, 06:40 PM
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From this link:

http://lroc.sese.asu.edu/posts/894

the coordinates are now available.

Phil



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Phil Stooke
post Dec 15 2015, 11:51 PM
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And here is a locator image if you want to find it yourself.

Phil

Attached Image


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Phil Stooke
post Jun 22 2016, 08:15 PM
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I have been experimenting with making improved images of Luna 17 and Lunokhod 1 for my revised moon atlas. These two images are each composites of eight LROC NAC images, enlarged and registered. The tracks are much more visible than in single images.

Phil

Attached Image

Luna 17

Attached Image

Lunokhod 1


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Phil Stooke
post Jul 26 2016, 09:24 PM
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continuing the theme of improving LRO NAC images by combining several of them... here are two Surveyors:

Surveyor 1
Attached Image


Surveyor 3
Attached Image


Phil


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Phil Stooke
post Mar 27 2018, 11:55 PM
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I had someone ask me about Surveyor 4 today, and the question comes up every now and then. Recently I tracked down a candidate for it, so here it is, with a bit of speculation.

What should we be looking for? There are three obvious suggestions arising from three possible fates for the spacecraft.

1. Successful landing, but power or communications fail. We would see a lander like the other Surveyors, a lump casting a shadow in low sun images, probably surrounded by a bright patch where the rocket exhaust changes the surface - we see that for most landers. Also, a few hundred meters away we might see a dark spot, possibly resolved as a small crater, where the retro-rocket hit the surface after it was ejected.

2. The retrorocket fails to separate and the small thrusters used for landing fail or can't cope with the extra weight. A crash, showing up as a dark spot or small crater, but no separate retro-rocket impact.

3. The retrorocket separates, but one or more thrusters fail to ignite. The lander falls to the surface, with a retro-rocket impact nearby.

What do we see? Here is a map showing the target and a zoom-in sequence leading to my candidate site:

Attached Image


And here is a comparison of the five LROC-NAC images we have now:


Attached Image


My candidate is a dark spot which, in the best images may be resolved into a small crater. No bright halo, no lump casting a shadow. If it is Surveyor 4, it crashed. South of it at a distance of 200 m is a small dark spot which might be the retro-rocket.

To me this suggests scenario 3.

Phil



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nprev
post Mar 28 2018, 12:22 AM
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Looks compelling. Is it well within the intended landing ellipse? If there was a single thruster failure it may be offset from the projected course line.


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Phil Stooke
post Mar 28 2018, 02:11 AM
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Well within the ellipse which was about 30 km across, and in fact only about 1500 m from the location suggested by tracking.

Phil


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