This is pretty neat: an Apollo enthusiast who goes by the handle GoneToPlaid has created a video comparing the Apollo 11 footage of its descent to the Moon with images from Google Moon:
That’s very cool. You can see the same features in the Apollo 11 film footage and in the newer view from Google Moon, which uses images from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter as well as Japan’s Kaguya mission. The lighting was different so sometimes it makes features hard to spot in both — direct sunlight changes shadows, and also creates a spotlight effect which can hide craters and such — but you can see how well everything lines up. GoneToPlaid provides a link to the KMZ files you can use for Google Moon to check this out for yourself as well.
This won’t convince people who think NASA faked the landings, of course, nor do I really care. What I do care about is how this brings home what the astronauts did all those decades ago. Going to the Moon was hard; it’s another world, with all the dangers and unknowns and difficult terrains that made it necessary to explore it before we went, and to do so once again in preparation for going back. Hopefully sometime soon.
Tip o’ the spacesuit visor to Scott Hall. Image credit: NASA.