Apollo Surface Panoramas
For a boots-on-the-ground perspective of the lunar surface, one of the best resources is a spectacular set of 70 mm Hasselblad panoramas that the Apollo astronauts created.
These panoramas were not easy to produce. The astronauts’ movements on the lunar surface were encumbered by spacesuits. The astronauts were also unable to align the cameras with a view-finder. Because the astronauts were wearing helmets, the cameras were mounted on the chests of the spacesuits. Without a view finder, the crew had to learn how to point, shoot, turn slightly, point and shoot again, etc., until a panorama of overlapping photographs was generated. This required a lot of training on Earth, before they traveled to the Moon. Fortunately, this task will be much easier with modern digital imaging systems when we return to the Moon.
Individual photographic frames within the panoramas were recently digitized and re-assembled by NASA’s Information Resources Directorate at the Johnson Space Center with support from the Advanced Projects Office. These re-rendered panoramas are breathtaking and are being used again to illustrate the types of lunar surface conditions that future missions to the lunar surface will encounter. Fortunately, they have also been made available to us so that we can make them available to the rest of the lunar community, students, and the general public. We hope that you enjoy the views.