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This view is entirely on the near side where the monotony of the terrae is interrupted by broad expanses of maria. The first two Apollo landing missions were on the relatively smooth maria in areas that were unobstructed by mountains along the approach route. Here, looking westward from the window of the Apollo 11 CM Columbia during its approach, is a view of southwestern Mare Tranquillitatis. Tranquility Base (TB), where Neil Armstrong and Edwin ("Buzz") Aldrin aboard Eagle made the first lunar landing, is barely visible along the terminator beneath the arrow. The maria are invariably described as "smooth." In a relative sense this is true, but only when they are compared with the much more rugged terrae, such as those south (to the left) of the landing site. Here, as in most mare areas, the "smoothness" of the mare surface is interrupted by craters, numerous mare ridges (as at R), straight rilles or grabens (G), sinuous rilles (S), and islands of unburied terrae (T). Some craters like Maskelyne (M) have extensive aprons of ejected debris that further contribute to the roughness of mare surfaces. The dark area in the lower left is not a huge shadow on the lunar surface but is one of the LM thrusters. (It is so close to the camera that it is out of focus.) For an idea of the scale of this picture, the distance from the center of Maskelyne to the landing site is 210 km. -D.E.W.
Report Source: NASA SP-362, Page 36, Figure 23
This web page was created by Francis Ridge
for The Lunascan Project
Section Directory 35