Lunar and Planetary Institute






Apollo 11 Mission


Mission Photography

Camera Equipment | Orbital Photography | Surface Photography

Astronaut boot print on the Moon

The photographic equipment and materials carried by Apollo 11 were designed specifically to (1) photograph "targets of opportunity," i.e., scientifically interesting sites and potential Apollo landing sites as time and circumstances permitted; (2) obtain photographs of the lunar module and lunar surface activities after LM landing; (3) obtain vertical and oblique stereo strips of nearside and farside regions of scientific interest; (4) record mission operational activities; and (5) obtain documentation for subsequent landing crew training purposes.

The Camera Equipment

The Camera EquipmentApollo 11 carried a number of cameras for collecting data and recording various aspects of the mission, including one 70-mm Hasselblad electric camera, two 70-mm lunar surface superwide-angle cameras, one Hasselblad El data camera, two 16-mm Maurer data acquisiton cameras, one 35-mm surface close-up stereoscopic camera, and a television camera.

During the mission, nine magazines of 70-millimeter film and 13 magazines of 16-millimeter film were exposed. The 16-millimeter film taken during lunar module descent provided the first accurate knowledge of the exact landing point of the lunar surface. The 70-millimeter photographs taken on the lunar surface provided panoramic views of the surface near the landed LM and allowed detailed topographic mapping of the lunar surface near the landing point.

Lunar photography from the lunar module consisted mainly of specific targets of opportunity, with a short strip of vertical still photography from about 170° to 120°E longitude. Most of the other 70-millimeter command module photography of the surface consisted of features selected by the crew. The descent film was used to determined the location of the landed lunar module. One sequence of 16-millimeter coverage taken from the lunar module window shows the lunar surface change from a light to a very dark color wherever the crew walked. The quantity and quality of still photographs taken through the lunar module window and on the lunar surface were very good. The still photograpy on the surface indicates that the landing site location determined by use of the 16-millimeter descent film was correct. The close-up stereo photography provides good-quality imagery of 17 areas, each 3 by 3 inches. These areas include various rocks, some ground surface cracks, and some rock that appears to have been partially melted or splattered with molten glass.

70-mm still (Hassalblad Camera)70-mm Hasselblad Electric Camera. This camera, which was carried aboard the command module, featured a motor-drive mechanism, powered by two nickel-cadmium batteries, that advanced the film and cocked the shutter whenever the camera was activated.

70-mm Hasselblad Lunar Surface Superwide-Angle Cameras. These cameras, which were carried aboard the lunar module, were operated manually for the shutter and film advance.

70-mm Hasselblad EL Data Camera. This electrically powered camera, carried on the lunar module, featured semiautomatic operation. It used 60-mm Biogon lens exclusively. The operating sequence was initiated by squeezing a trigger mounted on the camera handle. A reseau grid was set in front of the image plane to provide photogrammetric information in the analysis of the photography. The camera was bracket-mounted on the front of a LM astronaut's suit.

16-millimeter Maurer Data Acquisition Camera. Apollo 11 carried two Maurer data acquisition cameras, one on the command module and one on the lunar module. The cameras were used primarily to record engineering data and for continuous-sequence terrain photography. The CM camera had lenses of 5-mm, 10-mm, and 75-mm focal lengths; the LM camera was fitted with an 18-mm wide-angle lens. Accessories included a right-angle mirror, a power cable, and a CM boresight window bracket.

16-mm movie (Maurer Camera)The Maurer camera weighed 2.8 pounds with a 130-foot film magazine attached. It had frame rates of 1, 6, and 12 fps automatic and 24 fps semiautomatic at all lens focal lengths, and shutter speeds of 1/60, 1/125, 1/500, and 1/1000 second, again, at all lens focal lengths.

 

 

35-mm Lunar Surface Close-up Stereoscopic Camera. This camera, carried on the lunar module's Modular Equipment Storage Assembly (MESA), was designed for the highest possible resolution of a 3-inch square area with a flash illumination and fixed distance. Photography was accomplished by holding the camera on a walking stick against the object to be photographed. The camera was powered by four nickel-cadmium batteries that operated the motor-drive mechanism and an electronic flash strobe light.

Orbital Photography

Image of the lunar surface

Photographs taken from lunar orbit provide synoptic views for the study of regional lunar geology. The photographs were used for lunar mapping and geodetic studies, and they were valuable in training the astronauts for future lunar missions.

Image of a full Moon A nearly full Moon is viewed from a perspective never seen from Earth, approximately 60°E. The LM landing site is far to the west in this view.
   
Image of the lunar surface The center of this photogrpah is located approximately 10°S, 177°W, and shows the view to the southwest form the spacecraft. Note the smooth mare-type fill in the valleys in the foregound.
   
Image of the craters Messier, Messier A, and Messiner B The craters Messier, Messier A, and Messiner B are grouped in the center of this photograph, looking westward across Mare Fecundiatis. Messier appears nearest the center of the photograph, Messier A is above Messier, and Messier B is below and to the right of Messier.
   
Telephoto view of the craters Messier and Messier A This is a telephoto view of the craters Messier and Messier A. The aypical shape of these craters has caused considerable controversy concerning the mode of origin.

Surface Photography

Astronauts Armstrong and ALdrin prepare the lunar module for liftoff

Immediately after landing on the Moon, astronauts Armstrong and Aldrin prepared the lunar module for liftoff as a contingency measure. Photographs were taken through the LM window during this activity and again later on the surface. The photographs reproduced in this series about surface photography show detail in specific areas like (1) Surface Activities, (2) Sample Documentation, and (3) Stereoscopic Surface Photography.

The astronauts carried out the planned sequence of activities that included deployment of various science experiments, collection of a larger sample of lunar surface material and two core-tube samples. Most of these activities were documented by 70-mm still cameras.

Crater on the Moon located near the point the Apollo 11 Lunar Module touched down This crater, located near the point the Apollo 11 Lunar Module touched down on the Moon, was photographed by the Apollo 11 astronauts during their lunar surface extravehicular activity. Dark shadows obscure much of the crater wall in the background. The object in the foreground is the Apollo 11 35-mm stereo close-up camera.
   
Astronaut Aldrin descends from the Lunar Module Astronaut Aldrin descends from the LM. Note the configuration of the astronaut boot sole.
   
Astronaut Aldrin descends the ladder to the lunar surface. Astronaut Aldrin descends the ladder to the lunar surface.
   
Astronaut footprint on the Moon The astronaut photographed his own footprint to permit later study of the lunar surface bearing strength. The thin, crusty appearance of the surface was similar to that discovered during the Surveyor soil mechanics experiments. Notice how the footprint matches the boot sole in the second image.
   
THe Laser Retroreflector and the Pasive Seismic Experiment Package about to be removed from the Modular Equipment Storage Assembly in the LM descent stage. The Laser Ranging Retroreflector and the Passive Seismic Experiment Package are about to be removed from the Modular Equipment Storage Assembly in the LM descent stage. The television camera can be seen beyond and to the right of the Solar Wind Composition Experiment.

Sample Documentation. One of the main photographic tasks to be accomplished during the extravehicular activities was documenting sample retreival, photographing the lunar surface and the moonscape.

Image of lunar surface The contingency sample was collected in full view of the sequence camera immediately north west of the LM, and the colleciton time approximately 3 minutes, 35 seconds. The sample bag was filled with two scoops of sample having a total weight of about 1.4 kg. The regions that were scooped have been accurately located pn a pre-EVA LM window photograph. The area of scoop one is located in the lower left portion of the image while the area of scoop two is located near the middle of the image. Both scoops included small surface rock fragments that were visible from the LM window prior to sampling.
   
Sample 10022 Contingency sample rock fragment from the first scoop. (Lunar Receiving Lab sample number 10022.)
   
Sample 10023 Contingency sample rock fragment from the second scoop. (Lunar Receiving Lab sample number 10023.)
   
Astronaut Aldrin obtaining samples

A total of 5 minutes, 50 seconds was spent by Aldrin in obtaining the two core-tube samples, both of which were taken in the vivinity of the Solar Wind Composition Experiment. The driving of the first core was documented by two Hasselblad photographs, one of which is seen here.

Stereoscopic Closeup Surface. The Apollo 11 mission carried a close-up stereo camera with which the astronauts took 17 pictures, each of an area 3 by 3 inches and a resolution of approximately 80 µm. There are many details seen in these pictures that were not known previously or that coula not be seen with similar definition by astronauts Armstrong and Aldrin in their careful inspection of the lunar surface. The photographs taken on the mission with the close-up stereoscopic camera are of outstanding quality and show in detail the nature of the lunar surface material. Several photographs contain unusual features. From the photographs, information can be derived about the small-scale lunar surface geologic features and about processes occurring on the surface.

Stereoscopic view of lunar surface powder A stereoscopic view shows a clump of lunar surface powder with various small, differently colored pieces. Many small, shiny spherical particles can be seen.
   
Stereoscopic view of stone embedded in lunar surface Another stereoscopic view shows a stone, approximately 2.5 inches long, embedded in the powdery lunar surface material. The small pieces grouped closely around the stone suggest that it suffered some erosion. On the surface, several small pits are seen, mostly less than one-eighth of an inch in size and with a glazed surface. The pots have a raised rim, characteristic of pits made by high-velocity micrometeorite impacts.
   
Stereoscopic view of glazing In this stereoscopic view, a large area of glazing is seen in the lower left region, both on the horizontal and on the sloping surfaces of the protuberance. Some glazing is also seen on the lower right object, with edges and points particularly affected. In the upper part of the picture a small glossy bead is seen poised on a narrow pedestal.

Apollo 11 Plans for Surface Photography

Summary

Lunar photography from the command module consisted mainly of specified targets of opportunity together with a short strip of vertical still photography from about 170° to 120°E longitude. Most of the other 70-millimeter command module photography of the surface consisted of features selected by the crew.

The 16-millimeter sequence camera photography was generally excellent. The descent film was used to determine the location of the landed lunar module. One sequence of 16-millimeter coverage taken from the lunar module window shows the lunar surface change from a light to a very dark color wherever the crew walked.

The quantity and quality of still photographs taken through the lunar module window and on the lunar surface were very good. On some sequences, to ensure good photography, the crew varied the exposures one stop in either direction from the exposure indicated. The still photography on the surface indicates that the landing site location determined by use of the 16-millimeter descent film is correct.

The close-up stereo photography provides good quality imagery of 17 areas, each 3 by 3 inches. These areas included various rocks, some ground-surface cracks, and some rock that appears to have been partially melted or splattered with molten glass.

Apollo Image Atlas