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SatTracker
2014-Mar-17, 03:37 AM
Back when China was struggling to revive its Jade Rabbit rover, there was a lot of chatter about a supposed alien spacecraft 'hidden' in a crater on the far side of the moon. It turned out to be nothing more than a digital artifact when zooming in on Google's lunar map. However, it got me to doing a little exploring in the vicinity of Apollo 15 landing site and in the process I cam across what appears to be a 'dirt' track some 60 miles long. I wrote about it on my EV World.com blog, but never saw a satisfactory explanation - or any explanation for that matter - on what I was looking at. Having read Phil Plait's article about Moon Mappers, I decided to join the forum and see if anyone here might shed some light on this curiosity. Here's the link to my blog posting, which includes a screen shoot of the 'anomaly' taken from about 10 km above lunar surface:

http://evworld.com/blogs.cfm?authorid=12&blogid=1221

Insights would be much appreciated.

Van Rijn
2014-Mar-17, 08:55 AM
What's the scale on that image? One thing that occurs to me is that Apollo 15 landed right next to an edge of the Hadley Rille. Here's an image from above, with the rover track superimposed:

http://lroc.sese.asu.edu/news/uploads/a15_traverse2.png

Your image is illuminated differently and low resolution, so the rille edge wouldn't look the same if the scale fits for that feature.

Here's a computer generated image that gives an idea of the 3D structure of the area that might give some clues:

http://www.nasa.gov/centers/ames/images/content/368637main_hadley-rille.jpg

If it's a smaller scale feature, it might have been caused by a rolling rock. Here's an example with rolling rocks (not in the same area):

http://files.abovetopsecret.com/files/be9e88ec87cfc02a.gif

Van Rijn
2014-Mar-17, 09:03 AM
However, it got me to doing a little exploring in the vicinity of Apollo 15 landing site and in the process I cam across what appears to be a 'dirt' track some 60 miles long.

I just noticed this. So the image has low enough resolution that it shows a full 60 miles, and it's next to Apollo 15? Sounds like the rille.

R.A.F.
2014-Mar-17, 12:37 PM
If it's a smaller scale feature, it might have been caused by a rolling rock.

Without further information, that would be my "guess".

grapes
2014-Mar-17, 01:08 PM
I was able to download google earth and use the coordinates to find the image in the OP, and it is definitely not Hadley Rill.

ETA: I've duplicated the blog image, more or less, and in it the length is a tenth of the total, about 6 miles.
19363

SatTracker
2014-Mar-17, 02:12 PM
Thanks for the replies. Just to clarify: the 'anomaly' in question is some 54 miles east (112 degrees heading using Google Earth) of the Apollo 15 site. It is not Hadley Rill. The screen capture on my blog was taken at an altitude of 10 km. Attached is a new screen capture showing the pinpoints for the terminii of the track. For clarity purposes, I have included a 10 km altitude inset that shows the track curving around the base of a lunar hill, judging from the sun angle. The lunar surface lighting on Google Earth is much better than on the LRO Camera, a screen capture of the same region with the same North-South orientation is included.

1936419365

Bobbar
2014-Mar-17, 03:44 PM
I looked up LROC images in the same area as the path.


Coordinates from Google Earth-Moon:
19366


Same coordinates on the LROC Browser (http://wms.lroc.asu.edu/lroc/). Much higher resolution.:
19367


There's nothing.

It's most likely yet another example of the many artifacts that exist in Google Earth. More specifically, the edge of two images used in the map data.

SatTracker
2014-Mar-17, 04:03 PM
Certainly a plausible 'Achems Razor' explanation, though why it doesn't continue all the way across the scanned field is a puzzle. Would love to have Google or ASU teams look at this and see which images were used to do the stitching.

SatTracker
2014-Mar-17, 04:10 PM
In posted image on the blog is a short section of the track intended to show how it appears to bend around the base of a lunar hill, so I question the 'stitching' error explanation. Why doesn't it just cut across the object in a straight line if it were a computer software glitch?

SatTracker
2014-Mar-17, 04:12 PM
Apologies... I meant 'Occam's Razor'.... yesh!

pzkpfw
2014-Mar-17, 06:14 PM
In posted image on the blog is a short section of the track intended to show how it appears to bend around the base of a lunar hill, so I question the 'stitching' error explanation. Why doesn't it just cut across the object in a straight line if it were a computer software glitch?

In my brief view, that seemed to be from the image being placed over a height map. The curve of the track seemed an artefact on the terrain going up and down.

SatTracker
2014-Mar-17, 06:30 PM
I just noticed this is in the 'conspiracy' section of the forum. I certainly didn't intend that. I don't think there's a conspiracy here, just a need to understand how this 'anomaly' was formed. My gut tells me it's just a digital artifact of the map creation process - like who'd really crave a 'road' across the lunar surface for 60 miles? - but it still intrigues me, as do the 'star-like' objects in some of Google's Apollo landing site panos. See the previously mentioned blog for this one.

Spacedude
2014-Mar-17, 08:25 PM
If orbiting spy probes can resolve a few sq ft on the earth's surface I hope they toss a spare one up in the moons direction. (Hint at Google :)

grapes
2014-Mar-17, 08:26 PM
I just noticed this is in the 'conspiracy' section of the forum. I certainly didn't intend that. I don't think there's a conspiracy here, just a need to understand how this 'anomaly' was formed. My gut tells me it's just a digital artifact of the map creation process - like who'd really crave a 'road' across the lunar surface for 60 miles? - but it still intrigues me, as do the 'star-like' objects in some of Google's Apollo landing site panos. See the previously mentioned blog for this one.
Yes, the artifact idea is most probable, especially if it is not found in other images.

I've moved the thread to Moon Mappers.

Bobbar
2014-Mar-17, 09:01 PM
Certainly a plausible 'Achems Razor' explanation, though why it doesn't continue all the way across the scanned field is a puzzle. Would love to have Google or ASU teams look at this and see which images were used to do the stitching.

Because it runs into another group of stitched images that don't exhibit the same artifacts on the edges.

The data on Google Earth is really quite sloppy. It consists of a quagmire of different data sources from different dates, times-of-day, different formats and contrast/exposure all hacked together with seemingly little care.

grapes
2014-Mar-17, 09:26 PM
The data on Google Earth is really quite sloppy. It consists of a quagmire of different data sources from different dates, times-of-day, different formats and contrast/exposure all hacked together with seemingly little care.
And I had the same impression of the LROC images! :)