"TRACKS ON THE MOON" NEAR
VITELLO / LO5-H168_2
/ Near Side Section 62
Above: Enlarged portion of original Lunar
Orbiter Image. Original can be accessed at:
"Lunar Orbiter 5 recorded this evidence of objects moving on the Moon on the slope of the central peak of Vitello. In the upper half of this greatly enlarged tiny portion of the original frame, we see two 'boulders' which have rolled down the mountain from the left to right. The larger one, just above the small dark crater, is about 75 feet across and sufficiently irregular to have left a conspicuous tread-marked path some 900 feet long. It shines brightly and casts a long shadow into the crater. Near the upper border a 15-foot object with a triangular shadow has left a weaving 1200-foot long trail. George Leonard claimed that the upper object rolled up and out of the crater before rolling downhill to where it is seen in the photo. (NASA, VII Gassendi S 2.4)"
David Hatcher Childress
Here is an enlargement of the primary target,
"boulder #1", which shows detail in the trail or
track of the object, whatever it was. It doesn't
really look like the track of a "machine" but the
albedo of the object is conspicuously high. The
object is sizeable. I'm not sure where Childress got
his numbers. Note the shadow. If the ground slopes
as much as the photo indicates, it would seem that a
natural boulder would have curved downward toward
the bottom of the image.
Here is my enlargement of "boulder #2". It does look like this object came up out of the crater at the lower left and then went pretty well straight for a considerable distance. The object also has a high albedo and is casting a sizeable shadow, even though the terrain around the area appears to be pretty flat with no static boulders or hills casting any low angle shadows.
View from Lunar Orbiter 1966-1967 167
"Orbiter quickly cleared up a number of nagging interpretive questions, three of which concerned craters. Chapter 5 refers to the argument about whether Sabine-Ritter-type craters with high floors and smooth rims are calderas or impact craters whose floors rose like elevators. One such crater, Vitello, at the southern edge of Mare Humorum, is a Saari-Shorthill infrared "hot spot," is fractured, and is blanketed and surrounded by a dark deposit. If there is a caldera on the Moon, this ought to be it. The Orbiter 5 frame devoted to it shows that the cracks contain blocks. So many other block fields seen by Lunar Orbiters coincide with the telescopic hot spots that no doubt remained that blocks are the source of the "heat" - that is, they radiate solar heat relatively quickly. Volcanic heat evidently is not escaping from Vitello, so if it is a caldera, its activity expired long ago."
Don E. Wilhelm