When you look at the moon, just remember that somewhere on lunar face the remains of Apollo 11, 12, 14, 15, 16 and 17 along with eight unmanned Russian lunar missions and five pre Apollo unmanned American surveyor missions are all still there silently looking back, unless of course you’re a NASA non-believer. So why can’t we see these from Earth, why can’t we train our best telescopes on to the moon’s surface and see them exactly where we left them the best part of 50 years ago. Well there’s a bit of a problem and that is that the moon is 384,000 kilometers or 238,000 miles away and the Landers and all the things that behind are just a few meters across. To give you an idea of just how difficult this problem is it’s like looking for an object size of a coin from a thousand miles away or the equivalent from New York to Florida, so you need a pretty serious telescope. One telescope which springs to mind is the Hubble Space Telescope, after all if it can see galaxies billions of light-years away then it should be able to see the Apollo landings easily…. shouldn’t it. Well as with many things to do with space is not that simple. Yes, the hubble space telescope was indeed designed to look at very faint objects at astronomical distances but those objects are clusters of galaxies trillions of miles across, it was just not designed to take high-resolution images of small objects are fairly close ranges in astronomical terms like to the moon. The problem is down through a resolution of the images at the telescope produce and that is ultimately limited by the law of physics. The resolution determines the smallest picture element or pixel in the image the higher resolution the more the fine detail image can be seen. In a telescope the bigger the mirror the more of a magnification so the closer the object will appear but very large magnifications be images also affected by the wavelength of light itself shorter the wavelength of light like ultraviolet light a fine of a detail that can be captured and the resolution increases but invisible light as we go from blue to green to red, the wavelength increases and a resolution is actually decreased. The Hubble has a mirror which is 2.4 meters in diameter which was the largest that will fit into space shuttle by when it was placed in orbit. This gives it a single pixel resolution in ultraviolet light of about 43 meters across on the moon surface, anything smaller than 43 meters will just be hidden in a single dot which cannot resolve any further. In fact we need really two pixels or more to make out anything at all. In visible light it’s even worse and the size of the area covered by a single pixel increases 90 meters. The only way we’re going to see any object few meters across on the lunar surface is either to increase the size of a mirror or get closer to the object we’re looking at. Back on earth the current largest optical telescope in the world is the GTC on the Canary Islands with a mirror diameter of 10.4 meters. This increases the resolution so that the smallest area covered by one pixel will be 20 meters across invisible light still too big to see the Apollo lander which is just over 4 meters across. In fact to see the Apollo landers from Earth you need a telescope with a mirror size 10 times that of GTC or about 100 meters across and that does not yet exist. Even with a 100 meter telescope would only give you a two meter resolution coverage so the lander would be two pixels in visible light and four pixels in ultraviolet light, still not enough to discern any real detail. This is the reason why we are unable to see any of the vehicles on the moon from the earth and although in theory it is possible to use a group of telescope in an array to get a higher resolution, no one has yet done it because telescope time is in very high demand and very limited and looking for objects that we know already exists is just not a high enough priority just to disprove that none believers. What we need to do is put a camera in orbit around the moon just like the spy satellites or the ones which gives the satellite mapping services like Google Earth for example. In 2009 that’s exactly what happened when the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter or LRO was launched to photograph and survey the moon from a distance between 12 and 100 miles above its surface. Even with a much smaller camera lens, at its closest passes, it has a resolution of just 0.5 meters or 18 inches per pixel. So now all of the Apollo sites with the lunar landers, the rover’s as well as the russian site can now be seen for the first time since they landed. This also shows the trails left in the lunar dust by the astronauts both on foot and in the lunar Rovers, the science experiments that were left there over 44 years ago are still visible and even the shadows of the American flags can be seen as they vary in size due to the changing position of the Sun during lunar. Day we can’t see the flags themselves because they are hanging vertically and the camera is looking for top down position and the flags for just a fraction of an inch thick. So now we have the photographic evidence of the Apollo landers, unless of course you don’t believe anything official that comes out of NASA and that they were placed there by robotic Landers or aliens years later or the moon is a hologram and the earth is flat. 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