In December of 1972, Apollo 17 astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt spent about 75 hours on the Moon in the Taurus-Littrow valley, while colleague Ronald Evans orbited overhead. This sharp image was taken by Cernan as he and Schmitt roamed the valley floor. The image shows Schmitt on the left with the lunar rover at the edge of Shorty Crater, near the spot where geologist Schmitt discovered orange lunar soil. The Apollo 17 crew returned with 110 kilograms of rock and soil samples.
Panorama by Syd Buxton. Assembled from high-resolution scans of the original film frames, this image sweeps across the moon's surface. Taken by Neil Armstrong looking out his window. For scale, the large, shallow crater on the right has a diameter of about 12 meters. Frames taken from the Lunar Module windows about an hour and a half after landing, before walking on the lunar surface.
The dramatic oblique view was recorded on June 10, 2011 by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. Shown in amazing detail, boulder strewn slopes and jagged shadows appear in the highest resolution version at 1.5 meters per pixel. The rugged complex is about 15 kilometers wide, formed in uplift by the giant impact that created the well-known ray crater 100 million years ago. The summit of its central peak reaches 2 kilometers above the Tycho crater floor.
Photo by Richard Bosman. The dark-floored, 95 kilometer wide crater Plato and sunlit peaks of the lunar Alps (Montes Alpes) are highlighted in this sharp digital snapshot of the Moon's surface. Joining the Mare Imbrium and northern Mare Frigoris (Sea of Cold) the valley extends toward the upper right, about 160 kilometers long and up to 10 kilometers wide. The tallest of the lunar Alps, it reaches over 3 kilometers above the surface.
A desk-sized rover explores the Moon. Launched by the Chinese National Space Administration, the Chang'e 3 spacecraft landed on the Moon and deployed the robotic rover. Yutu, named for a folklore lunar Jade Rabbit, has a scheduled three-month mission to explore several kilometers inside the Sinus Iridum (Latin for "Bay of Rainbows") impact crater.