NASA releases incredible Apollo panoramas with unreal views of the moon

Dear moon: Thank you.

Jackson Ryan Former Science Editor
Jackson Ryan was CNET's science editor, and a multiple award-winning one at that. Earlier, he'd been a scientist, but he realized he wasn't very happy sitting at a lab bench all day. Science writing, he realized, was the best job in the world -- it let him tell stories about space, the planet, climate change and the people working at the frontiers of human knowledge. He also owns a lot of ugly Christmas sweaters.
Jackson Ryan
2 min read

How's the serenity? So much serenity.


The 50th anniversary of humanity's first steps on the moon is a worthy cause for celebration and one thing that's become apparent this week is NASA is very good at celebrating. On Wednesday, the space agency revisited a slew of unbelievable panoramas that showcase the magnificent desolation of the moon in striking high definition.

NASA imagery specialist Warren Harold, working out of Johnson Space Center, has digitally stitched together 70-millimeter Hasselblad frames of the Apollo missions 50 years ago. With a few minor touches, we get the stunning images of the moon.

One particular panorama, of Apollo 17's landing site in the Taurus-Littrow valley, really struck a chord with Apollo 17 geologist Harrison Schmitt, according to NASA. Schmitt remarked it is "one of the more spectacular natural scenes in the solar system." After seeing the glorious image (below), it's hard not to agree -- though I will readily admit I haven't seen every natural scene in the solar system.

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A 360-degree image of the Apollo 17 landing site is available at NASA's Johnson Space Center Facebook page, so you can spin around on the moon, get dizzy on the moon and then throw up on the moon! (Don't actually do this.)

The starless sky may lead some conspiracy theorists to cry "FAKE!" but NASA's image specialists deliberately blacked out the lunar horizon and removed some lens flares from the panoramas to more accurately reflect the observations of those who walked there. The lunar surface, they say, is so reflective it makes it difficult to see the stars of the cosmos.

This isn't the first time NASA's delivered insane visuals from the surface of the moon, but it is as good a reminder as any of our lunar conquests, just two days shy of the 50th anniversary of actually putting human feet on the moon.

You can view the full album of incredible lunar surface images on NASA's Flickr page.

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