Why can't you see any Apollo artifacts with Google Moon?

With Google Moon you can zoom right in to the Apollo 11 landing site:


...and the photos see to have enough resolution. Using the scale in the bottom left, it works out to 12 pixels per meter, which should be MORE than enough to see the base and legs of the lunar module that was left behind.

It appears you can see the dust trails of where they walked, unless that's an enhancement added by NASA.

But you can't see anything. I'm NOT looking for wacky conspiracy theories, but an actual explanation (like the photo was taken before Apollo 11, or something concrete).

9 Answers

  • Favorite Answer

    I think the photo was taken before the landings, probably by one of the earlier missions when they were scouting landing sites. I think the dark trails were added by hand.

    UPDATE: It's a map from a book on the landing.

    "This is figure 10.12 from the Lunar Sourcebook by G.H. Heiken, D.T. Vaniman, and B.M. French, editors, copyright 1991 by Cambridge University Press"

  • 1 decade ago

    How's this for concrete... that link you give is a *drawing* of the lunar surface at the Apollo 11 site. Just zoom out two or three levels. You'll notice that all the amazing detail mysteriously vanishes in the areas surrounding the landing site. Click on the "visible" tab and this overlay disappears completely.

    This is probably an artistic rendering taken straight out of a NASA press kit, and placed on Google Moon at the right place and scale for the Apollo 11 site, since the map makers knew this is would be a point of interest on the Moon.

    There are no photos of the Apollo landings aside from the ones taken by the Apollo astronauts. The objects left behind are simply too small to be photographed from any Earth-based telescopes or even the Hubble telescope. At its highest resolution, the Hubble can see objects as small as 30m at the distance of the Moon. You'd need a telescope with a diameter of 60m to see an object as small as the lunar lander from 380,000 km away.

  • That close-up isn't a photo, it's a map.

    If you zoom out, look at the difference between the resolution of the rest of the photo and the resolution of the detailed section. You'll see that even that far away the features are very unclear, and that in the highlighted section there is suddenly much more detail, because it's a map. That should give you an idea of how much resolution the cameras have, compared with what's actually there.

    Even if there was higher resolution, I doubt that anything would stand out. The flag is vertical, and we're looking at it from above, yes? And there would be very little contrast between the colours of the artifacts and the lunar surface.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Recheck your math. No earth-based telescope has the resolution to see an artifact the size of the lunar equipment on the moon, even without atmospheric distortion.

    The only telescope that might have that kind of resolution would be one on the level of the Hubble. And Google does not have access to that kind of instruement--those telecops are for serious work only.

    BTW--pixels don't matter. An original image from a telescope is not digatal, even if the one on your computer screen is.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I followed the link you posted just now and looked for the actual arial photographs of the moon. The resolution was fine, but it was the legend that explained why you can't see anything on it. It was 5 mi/10 kg per inch or so. So when you look at the real photographs, you're about 5 miles from the moon's surface. I don't think it would really be possible to see the lunar module's legs or anything like that from that distance.

  • 1 decade ago

    That's not a photo, it's a drawn map. That's why you can't see the lander on that image. There are NO pictures taken of the artifacts from space because nothing so far used to image the lunar surface has the resolution to pick out the objects.

  • 1 decade ago

    Google Moon is only a legend.

  • Mark H
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    Edit - "John's secret identity" nailed it.

    It's the exact same image.

  • 1 decade ago

    Apollo was only a legend

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