Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2004 January 13
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.

An Apollo 15 Panorama
Credit: Apollo 15 Crew, USGS, NASA

Explanation: The Apollo 15 mission to Earth's Moon was dedicated to better understanding the surface of the moon by exploring mountains, valleys, maria, and highlands. Astronauts David Scott and James Irwin spent nearly three days on the Moon while Alfred Worden orbited above in the Command Module. The mission, which blasted off from Earth on 1971 July 26, was the first to deploy a Lunar Roving Vehicle. Pictured above in this digitally stitched mosaic panorama, David Scott examines a boulder in front of the summit of Mt. Hadley Delta. The shadow of James Irwin is visible to the right, while scrolling to the right will reveal a well-lit and diverse lunar terrain. The Apollo 15 mission returned about 76 kilograms of moon rocks for detailed study. Want to pan across the surface of Mars, too? Check out the color panoramic view from the Spirit landing site.

Tomorrow's picture: Pan Mars

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