LRO Reveals Last Footprints on the Moon

Visiting the Apollo 17 capsule at Space Center Houston was about as close as anyone could get to Man’s final voyage to the Moon – until now!  Thanks to NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, we are now able to explore the last landing site in spectacular detail!

NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) captured the sharpest images ever taken from space of the Apollo 12, 14 and 17 landing sites. Images show the twists and turns of the paths made when the astronauts explored the lunar surface.



At the Apollo 17 site, the tracks laid down by the lunar rover are clearly visible, along with the last foot trails left on the moon. The images also show where the astronauts placed some of the scientific instruments that provided the first insight into the moon’s environment and interior.

“We can retrace the astronauts’ steps with greater clarity to see where they took lunar samples,” said Noah Petro, a lunar geologist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., who is a member of the LRO project science team.

All three images show distinct trails left in the moon’s thin soil when the astronauts exited the lunar modules and explored on foot. In the Apollo 17 image, the foot trails, including the last path made on the moon by humans, are easily distinguished from the dual tracks left by the lunar rover, which remains parked east of the lander.

Courtesy of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

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The Apollo 17 crew capsule America is part of the vast display of spacecraft and artifacts on display at Space Center Houston.  Located in the Starship Gallery, the last crewed vehicle to fly to the Moon is displayed against a life size diorama of the lunar landscape.  Starship Gallery is included with regular admission to Space Center Houston.  For hours and directions visit our Guest Information page.