The Apollo 8 astronauts will see spectacular views of the moon never seen by human eyes.
The Apollo 8 astronauts will see spectacular views of the moon never seen by human eyes. But cameras have been there and the following film has been prepared by The Boeing Company, using still photos from five different Lunar Orbiter spacecraft. This is how the full moon looks from Earth, viewed through a telescope.
However, the moon will not be full as the Apollo spacecraft approaches it. It will be a crescent moon with illumination on the right side as seen from Earth. The spacecraft will pass into the moon's shadow as it approaches the moon.
Before curving behind the moon's left edge, Apollo 8 will pass over this huge bills formation on the moon's left side. Called the Orientale Basin, the 600-mile-diameter crater is ringed with peaks up tod 20,000 feet high. The state of New York would fit inside the basin. The crater will be hidden in the moon's shadow.
The central part of the huge bills crater contains a dark area called the Spring Sea of the foot of an inner ring of mountains. Orientale is believed to be a relatively young crater, caused by the impact of a very long meteorite.
As the Apollo spacecraft passes behind the moon it will enter a sunny day on the far side. If all spacecraft systems check out the astronauts will fire the spacecraft's rocket engine and enter an initial lunar orbit ranging from 70 to 196 miles above the surface. After several revolutions around the moon, the spacecraft's orbit will be circularized at about 70 miles altitude. If the astronauts look toward the moon's south pole they may see this spectacular crater, Tsiolkovsky, photographed by Lunar Orbiter 3 from an altitude of about 900 miles.
A close view of the 150-mile-diameter Tsiolkovsky crater, shows how the walls have slumped in. An island in the crater makes it resemble Oregon's famed Crater Lake, but Tsiolkovsky is much larger.
As Apollo 8 near the right edge of the moon as seen from Earth, it will cross over one of the few mare-type features on the moon's far side.
Orbiter photos show that the far side of the moon is more heavily cratered than the side facing the Earth. This picture was taken from an altitude of about 3,700 miles.
This is about what the Apollo 8 crew will see as they swing out from behind the moon and look back toward Earth, one quarter million miles away. Orbiter 1 was about 750 miles above the moon when it winked its telephoto eye in August, 1966, to give man his first look at the Earth from the moon.
The spacecraft will fly over the Sea of Fertility as it begins its flight across the moon's front face. This view shows a relatively smooth area with a very smooth crater, Messier.
The smooth, eliptical pattern of the Messier crater is unusual on the moon, and has caused some uncertainty about the crater's origin. This fissure on the moon's front face is called Hyginus Rille and the central crater is about 8 miles in diameter and 2,600 feet deep. The canyon on either side is 2 to 4 miles wide and 1,200 feet deep. Hyginus is located near the centre of the moon and slightly above the equator. Orbiter 3 was 40 miles above the moon when it took this photo.
This area is almost in the centre of the moon as viewed from Earth and is near one of the Apollo landing sites in the Central Bay Region.
The picture was taken from an altitude of about 70 miles. The formations are called "wrinkle ridges" and are found only in mare (lunar sea) areas.
The crater Copernicus, located about 10 degrees north and 20 degrees west of the moon's centre as viewed from Earth, was photographed by Orbiter 4 from about 1,700 miles altitude--(dissolve to next picture).
Orbiter 2 flew much closer to the moon's surface, only 28 miles high. From 150 miles south of Copernicus, the spacecraft's wide-angle camera took this oblique photo with Copernicus on the horizon-- (dissolve to next picture).
The telephoto camera snapped this picture showing the crater in greater detail. Here is Copernicus as it might appear from the crater's rim. The mountains rising from the flat floor of the crater are more than 1,000 feet high. Copernicus is 60 miles in diameter and about two miles deep.
Kepler is about 20 miles in diameter and more than a mile deep. It is located near the equator on the left hand side of the moon. (80 degrees north and 38 degrees west).
Orbiter 3 pointed its camera west and snapped this photo which is near one of the Apollo landing sites on the left side of the moon. The distance along the horizon is about 175 miles. The spacecraft was about 32 miles high when it took the picture.
This picture shows an array of lunar domes from two to ten miles in diameter and from 1,000 to 1,500 feet high. The domes resemble volcanic domes in California and Oregon and space scientists say that this photo confirmed that the moon has had a long and complicated history of volcanic activity. The crater Marius, 25 miles wide and a mile deep, is located near the horizon.
The crater Aristarchus looked like this from an altitude of 80 miles. The crater is about 25 miles in diameter and 10,000 feet deep. Located in the upper left-hand side of the moon (23 degrees north, 47 degrees west), Aristarchus is one of the moon's "hot spots" where astronauts have reported seeing red flares.
Earth looked like this to Orbiter 5. The Apollo 8 astronauts will have this view as they return from a quarter million miles away--an 8,000 mile diameter Christmas present.