NASA today released a batch of high-resolution images of the moon that show close-ups of landing sites from three Apollo missions, reports Space.com. (NASA has labeled and unlabeled versions of the images, taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, here.) They show astronauts' footprints, the tracks of their lunar rovers, and, alas, the space trash left behind at the landing sites for Apollo 12, 14, and 17.
"From a science standpoint, [the images] are important for two reasons," says an Arizona State University researcher. "They tell us something about the photometric properties of the moon—why are they darker? Scientists are working to investigate that question. In a more practical sense, it allows us to find the exact spot where samples were collected." Click for more.