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As the Apollo 11 lunar module approached the Moon's surface for the first manned landing, commander Neil Armstrong switched off the autopilot and flew the spacecraft manually to a landing.
A new video, created at Arizona State University's School of Earth and Space Exploration, shows what Armstrong saw out his window as the lander descended—and you'll see for yourself why he took over control.
Team - Mark - Robinson - Investigator - Lunar
A team led by Mark Robinson, principal investigator for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) and professor in the school, recreated the view in a striking video. They used the crew's voice recording, the timings, a video taken on film, and images taken from lunar orbit by the LRO Camera over the last 10 years.
Said Robinson, "The only visual record of the actual Apollo 11 landing is from a 16-mm time-lapse movie camera, running at 6 frames a second and mounted in Buzz Aldrin's window." Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin was designated as the LM pilot, although for the actual landing his role was to announce the LM's altitude and rates of descent and forward motion. He stood on the right side of the cabin.
Size - Lander - Windows - Angle - Movie
"Due to the small size of the lander windows and the angle at which the movie camera was mounted, what mission commander Neil Armstrong saw as he flew the LM to the landing was not recorded," Robinson explained. Armstrong's place was on the cabin's left side.
The LROC team reconstructed the last three minutes of the landing trajectory (latitude, longitude, orientation, velocity, altitude) using lunar landmark navigation and altitude callouts from the crew's voice recording.
Video - Armstrong - Autopilot - Flank - West
As the video begins, Armstrong could see the autopilot was aiming to land on the rocky flank of West Crater (625 feet wide). This caused him to take over manual control and fly horizontally, searching for a...
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