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LRO Image of the Week: The Rolling Stones Wish You Were Here? May 23, 2010

Posted by Nick Azer in Apollo, LRO Image of the Week, Lunar Reconaissance Orbiter, Schmitt, selenography.

For this edition of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Image of the Week, we summit the central peak of Tsiolkovskiy— a conspicuously dark crater on the far side of the Moon.

The location of Tsiolkovskiy, via Google Moon.

The darkness, like the mare, comes from a floor that filled with lava. The unusual nature of Tsiolkovskiy led it to be considered as a landing site for Apollo 17 or the later Apollo missions that were cancelled. As no Apollo missions ended up going to the far side, that’s still a cookie left to be had—the first man to ever reach the far side of the moon. (Side note: the dark side of the moon and the far side are actually separate concepts; the Moon does rotate, just perfectly in sync with Earth, so the far side does have day and night, with the lunar night at any given time being ‘the dark side’.)

The LRO image at top shows a litany of boulders, many with trails behind them visible (rolling stones on the far side…all we need are beetles and a zeppelin-shaped craft, and we’ve got a true rock odyssey). For these locales where no man has gone before, the incredible hi-def eye of the LRO can finally take us deep into the places we longed to explore 40 years ago.



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