Yes, Virginia, we went to the Moon

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has taken the highest resolution photos yet of the old Apollo landing sites on the Moon. Previous ones had already been taken in 2009, but these new photos were taken from a newer, lower orbit, which helped to increase the resolution. You can see the rovers and equipment left behind, and even the paths left by both the rovers and astronauts. More images are here and here.

Apollo 12 landing site. Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/ASU
Apollo 12 landing site, wider view. Click for larger version. Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/ASU

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is the “twin” of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, taking the highest resolution images ever from orbit of the Moon and Mars. There are some differences of course, but both spacecraft are revolutionizing our understanding of these worlds. Tomorrow, the GRAIL spacecraft will be launched to the Moon. These two probes, even more like actual twins, will both orbit the Moon in tandem to study its interior and thermal history.

Will these new images finally satisfy those who insist the moon landings were faked? Probably not. All of the anomalies cited in the photos and videos taken by the astronauts have been found to have prosaic explanations, even if some were not widely known or initially understood (and that is an entire subject in itself). We did go to the moon, and these images are a record of that achievement, even after so many years later.