Featured Image - 06/23/2009
Editor's note: After a lengthy and comprehensive development and
testing period, the original webmap interface for the scan products
from the Apollo Digital Image Archive Project has been officially
retired and replaced with a brand-new WMS-based user interface. Our
goals for this major redesign were simple. First, we wanted to
improve the user interface by making the Apollo Digital Image Archive
website faster and more responsive. Secondly, we wanted to make it
easier for users to rapidly find specific and useful images. You now
have much greater control over selecting the Apollo metric photographs that
you want to view, including the selection of individual Apollo
J-mission lunar orbital ground tracks, the display of named lunar
features, and a selection of relevant lunar basemaps. Finally, we
wanted to develop a robust web infrastructure that will also support
one of our other projects - the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera
(LROC). A version of this new Apollo interface will actually serve as
the distribution framework for the LROC Narrow Angle Camera images to the
outside professional lunar science community and the general public
once LROC NAC images have been released to the NASA Planetary Data System.
If you are curious as to how the LROC team intends to let users easily
browse LROC NAC data, then hopefully this new Apollo Digital Image
Archive website will help to illustrate how that will happen. You can
access the new webmap interface
or use the browse
gallery, which includes oblique views that aren't shown on the webmap.
With LRO safely in lunar orbit, the people behind the Apollo Digital
Image Archive are eager to continue sharing more exciting views of the
lunar frontier in the months and years to come.
Apollo 17 Command Module Pilot Ron Evans took this photograph during revolution 2 of the Apollo 17
mission, as the CSM America approached the Apollo 17 landing site
(still in shadow on the left side of the image) in the Taurus-Littrow
valley. You can see here an interesting mixture of ancient highlands
(the southern Montes Taurus, in the upper part of the image) and
younger mare units. This mare, named Sinus Amoris, is
connected to northeast Mare Tranquillitatis. You can
see numerous craters and structural features related to this region's
proximity to three major basins (Crisium to the east, Serenitatis to
the west, and Imbrium) that have been flooded by
mare lava flows. This area is noted for the quasi-rectilinear
(i.e., vaguely square-like) pattern noticeable under low-Sun
illumination conditions in some of the places where the mare meet the
highlands, especially in the north. It is thought
by some lunar scientists that these distinctive northeastern and
northwestern trending structural features are a result of faulting
caused by the formation of the giant Imbrium impact basin to the west.
The topography and high-resolution imagery returned by the
Reconnaissance Orbiter will help to clarify the complex
stratigraphic relationships in this and other lunar regions with
complicated geology as a prelude to the future extended human geological
exploration of the lunar surface.
Figure 1. Annotated view of Sinus Amoris,
east of the Apollo 17 landing site and northeast of Mare
Tranquillitatis (Apollo Image AS17-M-0305 [NASA/JSC/Arizona State University]).
Apollo Over the Moon: A View from Orbit (1978) H. Masursky,
G. W. Colton, F. El-baz, eds. NASA SP-362.