Apollo 14 Mission
Landing Site Overview
The landing site is located in a broad, shallow valley between radial ridges of the Fra Mauro Formation and approximately 500 kilometers from the edge of the Imbrium Basin. The major crater Copernicus lies 360 kilometers to the north, and bright ray material that emanates from Copernicus Crater covers much of the landing site region. In the immediate landing site area, an important feature is the young, very blocky Cone Crater, which is approximately 340 meters in diameter and which penetrates the regolith on the ridge to the east of the landing site.
". . . there's a few boulders out my window. They're scattered around falling between here and Doublet. I see at about my 2:30 position, probably 50 yards out, a large boulder that's probably 3 feet across. There -- that's the largest one I have in field of view, or at least, in my near field of view. And there are two or three others perhaps half that size -- or appear to be half that size in the same vicinity, just a little, little beyond, about 2:30 on the clock code and perhaps 50 meters to the largest one and then another 10 to 15 to the other big boulders. They don't seem to form a pattern that I can see. The color that we're looking at is a kind of mouse-brown or mouse-gray. And obviously, it changes with the sun angle. The surface - well, there are numerous craters in my field of view. Some old, very subdued, some overlapped by newer craters. Some that seem to be relatively recent. Most the surface, however, seems to be fine grained. Incidently, I do see some linear features on the surface. Very small, fine linear features. I do not think that they are erosion patterns; they may be. However, I can see a suggestion of them quite a ways away from the LM, kinda running parallel to those that I can see, and we'll have to talk about it later when we get out."
Edgar D. Mitchell, Lunar Module Pilot
Landing Site Selection
The landing site selected for Apollo 14 was in the Fra Mauro Formation near Cone Crater, with the primary objective of sampling material excavated by the Imbrium impact.
After the successful pinpoint landing of Apollo 12, mission planners were willing to consider landings in rougher but geologically more interesting regions. However, landing sites were still restricted to regions near the equator. Also, selected landing sites had to accomplish high-priority science objectives within the confines of two 4-hour-long walking EVAs.
Apollo 13 was targeted to land in the geologic unit known as the Fra Mauro Formation, which was formed as ejecta from the impact that formed the Imbrium Basin. Fra Mauro material had already been mapped through Earth-based telescopes as being widely distributed across the nearside of the Moon. It therefore serves as a convenient stratigraphic marker, dividing features that are older than the Imbrium impact from those that are younger. By returning samples of the Fra Mauro Formation for study on Earth, a precise age could be assigned to this geologic transition. Also, because the Fra Mauro was ejected by the Imbrium impactor, it was hoped that it would provide samples that originated deep in the Moon's crust, perhaps from tens of kilometers below the surface. The specific landing site within the Fra Mauro Formation was chosen to be near Cone Crater, a young, fresh, 370-meter-diameter impact structure. Cone Crater was chosen because it is large enough to penetrate through the lunar regolith that has been deposited since the Fra Mauro Formation was formed. In a sense, Cone Crater served as a natural drill core, exposing the rocks that were the main objective of the landing.
Prior to the abort of Apollo 13, Apollo 14 was targeted to land in the Littrow region of Mare Serenitatis, where the objective was to study young, pyroclastic volcanic deposits. Following the Apollo 13 abort, it was decided to retarget Apollo 14 to the Fra Mauro site, which was regarded as scientifically more important than the Littrow site. Also, landing in Fra Mauro would allow the astronauts to obtain orbital photography of the Descartes region, something that was not possible if Littrow was the landing site. Descartes was regarded as a high-priority target for a later mission (eventually flown by Apollo 16), but could not be certified as a safe landing site based on Lunar Orbiter photography. Although Littrow was rejected as the Apollo 14 landing site, another site in Mare Serenitatis, Taurus-Littrow, was later explored by Apollo 17.
Stereoscopic Views of the Landing Site
Red/Green (Anaglyph) Images
To view anaglyph stereo pairs you need red-green (or red-blue) stereo glasses. These glasses have a red lens over the left eye and green (or blue) lens over the right eye.
Black and White Images
To view side-by-side stereo pairs, use pocket stereo viewers (obtainable from local educational suppliers, bookstores, etc.).
Side-by-side stereo pairs can also be viewed with the unaided eye by focusing on each image separately and allowing the eyes to cross. If you wear glasses, it may be necessary to remove them and view the pairs from 6 to 10 inches away. These techniques may require some practice (the Apollo 15, 16 and 17 stereo pairs are good for this purpose). Another means of assisting this process is to place an index card upright between the two images, forcing each eye to see the different images. Only approximately 10% of the general public cannot view images stereoscopically.
The Apollo 14 landing site (green cross) is located on the rugged Fra Mauro Highlands south of Copernicus Crater. This was the first landing in terrain with significant relief. Topographic relief across the scene is ~500 meters. These views (Hasselblad frames AS14-70-9816 and AS14-70-9814) show an area 24 kilometers across from top to bottom, with north to the top. The vertical exaggeration is about 3.