The following is an excerpt from Alan Boyle | September 2, 2012 | msnbc.com |
The death of first moonwalker Neil Armstrong and the success of NASA’s Curiosity rover have reignited interest in the idea of taking a spin on the moon and Mars, at least virtually. It may be a decade or two before astronauts once again walk on the moon, or take the next giant leap to the Red Planet. In the meantime, 360-degree interactive panoramas give you a sense of what those walks will be like. Here’s a quick roundup of the coolest 360-degree views:
Walking on the moon
Armstrong, who passed away last weekend at the age of 82, was the first photographer to produce a 360-degree panorama on the surface of another celestial body. The pictures that make up the all-around mosaic show crewmate Buzz Aldrin working near the lunar module, the glare of the sun in the opposite direction, and Armstrong’s shadow on the lunar surface.
Every Apollo mission that made it to the surface since then has featured at least one all-around picture. In Armstrong’s honor, PhotoJPL.com has produced a zoomable, spinnable 360-degree display of the Apollo 11 scene. But to get the full Apollo lineup — including the must-see batch from Apollo 17, the last lunar mission — you’ll want to check out Panoramas.dk or Moonpans.com.
The Lunar and Planetary Institute offers an atlas of the source images, which were taken with the Hasselblad 70mm camera used on all of the Apollo missions. If you want to find Cat’s Paw Hills in Armstrong’s panorama, or Hadley Delta in the Apollo 15 panorama made by Jim Irwin, this is the place.
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