28 July 2012

Walking on the moon - 1972

From NASA's Astronomy Photo of the Day website:
In December of 1972, Apollo 17 astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt spent about 75 hours on the Moon in the Taurus-Littrow valley, while colleague Ronald Evans orbited overhead...

Now forty years later, Cernan and Schmitt are still the last to walk on the Moon.


  1. Oy, these pictures always cause me more questions than answers... How is everything in this photo in focus and yet only some things are overexposed? Where are all of the tracks in the dust - especially from the photographer (or did he take a completely different route to this crater?)? The photo appears to be spliced and that is my best explaination for these things. Sure they were there but they oversold the splendor in with their marketing department.... I son't think they created these images with scrutiny in mind. How else can you explain the inconsistent shadowing between the left 1/4 and some of the rocks on the right 3/4?

    1. > Sure they were there

      I'm glad you're not one of those questioning the moon missions' very fact.

      > they oversold the splendor

      If you use photo stitching software to combine two or three photos of your vacation of the Grand Canyon into a panorama, or if you use Picasa's "I'm feeling lucky" to restore the proper contrast and color balance of your pics, are you somehow 'overselling'? Or are you correcting for difficult lighting conditions, mistakes in camera settings, camera shake, a landscape too grand to easily capture in a single image?

      Is this really what you'd want NASA to send to the media for publication because it's the gritty reality of trying to take photos under very difficult conditions? They're not Photoshopping in (or out ) aliens, dropping images of an astronaut into locations they didn't reach, or otherwise telling an untrue story with their photos.

      Oversold the splendor of standing on the moon, looking back at the Earth? Really?

  2. The Apollo Image Atlas lists 3584 photographs taken by Apollo 17 on the lunar surface. The image posted here appears to be a composite of at least three of them (AS17-137-21007, AS17-137-21009 and AS17-137-21010, as seen in this gallery. But while the image is indeed spliced together, its parts were taken from the same spot, showing the same scene - I can't spot any inconsistencies in the shadows either. And do browse the galleries - you'll see that many of the photos indeed are overexposed or out of focus in some parts, have bad composition or just don't look all that interesting.

    Unfortunately, the Atlas only provides low resolution images. Here you can find the last one of the three in ridiculously high quality (4048x4000, 46 MB), which clearly shows footprints coming from the rover.

  3. At an event where I heard Cernan speak he said he prefers "most recent to walk on the Moon".

    1. I suppose that expresses a more optimistic viewpoint re manned space flight.


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