"Really, really awesome images," is how NASA's space science chief Ed Weiler describes the new haul from LRO.
In previous LRO images, tracks from the rovers were visible, but not as the sharp parallel lines seen in the new pictures. Also visible for the first time are foot trails of the astronauts as they explored the surface and set up equipment "We can retrace the astronauts' steps with greater clarity to see where they took lunar samples," lunar geologist Noah Petro, with NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., said in a statement.
For the close-ups, LRO soared as close as about 13 miles above the lunar surface. It usually flies at an altitude of about 31 miles.
"These images remind us of our fantastic Apollo history and beckon us to continue to move forward in exploration of our solar system," said NASA's planetary sciences division director Jim Green.
Image: Over the dunes and through the dust ... happy trails on the moon. Credit: NASA/ASU