A fantastic oblique view of the mare surface of the northern Sea of Tranquility seen for the first time from manned lunar orbit. The photograph was printed in reverse by photo technicians.
One of the major objectives of the Apollo 8 mission was to return photography of the proposed Apollo landing areas, specifically around the Sea of Tranquility which included two possible landing sites. Unfortunately the fogging of the windows made it difficult for Anders to obtain many photographs of the sites themselves. However the crew observations favored Apollo landing site 2 in the Sea of Tranquility for the lunar landing.
Cauchy is located at Latitude / Longitude 9.6°N 38.6°E.
Taruntius F is in the lower left corner; Taruntius E in the top left center. Each of the three prominent craters is 10 to 15 km (6 to 9 statute miles) across.
This oblique photograph of the northeastern portion of the Sea of Tranquillity taken between orbit 5 and orbit 7 with the 250mm telephoto lens “looks generally northwest from the Apollo 8 spacecraft. The lower (nearest) linear feature is the Cauchy Scarp. The upper linear feature is the Cauchy Rille. The Prominent Crater Cauchy lies between the rille and the scarp”
From the mission transcript during orbit 6:
For Jack (Schmitt, astronaut geologist who trained the crew before the mission)’s information, the Sun angles that we see now from the first IP (proposed landing site 1), second IP (proposed landing site 2 in the Sea of Tranquillity), and the P-1 are just right, I think, for landing conditions. The shadows aren’t too deep for you to get confused, but the land is - has texture to it, and there are enough shadows to make everything stand out.
If Jack’s listening, tell him that the optics may be doing all right, but the eyeballs are having a little trouble looking through all this smearon the windows.
Roger. Understand the optics are doing better than the eyeballs. How about the cameras?
The windows have the same smear to - The rendezvous windows are okay, but they’re so small and looking in the wrong directions here so far.
I think the vertical stereo (photography scheduled on a later pass) will be okay. [Long pause.]
It certainly looks like we’re picking the more interesting places on the Moon to land in. The back-side looks like a sand pile my kids have been playing in for a long time. It’s all beat up, no definition. Just a lot of bumps and holes. [Pause.]
I’m looking IP-2 (proposed landing site 2) right now, Houston, and it’s a great spot.
The area we’re over right now gives some hint of possible volcanic, though I can’t eyeball it at the moment to pin that down. There are some craters and build-ups that just definitely suggest volcanic activity.
Roger. Understand, Bill, and understand Jim thinks the ole IP-2 is a winner.
Yes, that backside doesn’t look good at all.
That’s relatively speaking, of course.
Learn More about this Collection
Read The Photography of Another World: The Artistic Heritage of Apollo (1961-1972)
Explore the Timeline for Project Apollo: Manned Space Missions, 1961-1972
© All texts by Victor Martin-Malburet