The LEM was comprised of an ascent, and a descent stage. Whilst the descent stage was in most cases left behind on Luna, the ascent stage ferried the astronauts upstairs to the CSM. Where are these vehicles now? Did they crash into the Earth/Moon, or are they still in orbit around the Moon/Earth/Sun?
After digging around, I found this article, which states the final locations are:
- Apollo 5- Destroyed in Earth's Atmosphere.
- Apollo 9- Destroyed in Earth's Atmosphere.
- Apollo 10- Heliocentric orbit (Around Sun)
- Apollo 11- Released around Moon, impacted, location unknown.
- Apollo 12- Impacted Moon 20 November 1969 at 22:17:17.7 UT (5:17 PM EST) 3.94 S, 21.20 W
- Apollo 13- Burned up in Earth's atmosphere.
- Apollo 14- Impacted Moon 07 February 1971 at 00:45:25.7 UT (06 February, 7:45 PM EST) 3.42 S, 19.67 W
- Apollo 15- Impacted Moon 03 August 1971 at 03:03:37.0 UT (02 August, 11:03 PM EDT) 26.36 N, 0.25 E
- Apollo 16- Released around moon, impact site unknown. Orbited for about a year.
- Apollo 17- Impacted Moon 15 December 1972 at 06:50:20.8 UT (1:50 AM EST) 19.96 N, 30.50 E
It seems that Apollo 11 was left unguided, and after that they seemed to want to guide the LMs to hit the Moon at a specific spot and time to use for testing lunar properties.
According to Wikipedia the ascent stage (i.e. the upper half) for most of the Lunar Modules either:
- Were crashed into the moon deliberately
- burned-up in Earth's atmosphere shortly after the dust-off from the moon
LM-4 "Snoopy" - the ascent stage is still in solar-orbit - the only surviving flown Lunar-module.
The descent-stage (i.e. the lower half) in most cases is still on the lunar surface.
Apollo 10 LM ascent module is indeed in solar orbit, most likely initially in a shorter orbital period then the earth's 365 days.Every 15 years or so a close earth approach, this however presents a possibility of changing Snoopy's solar orbit as described by "Astrogator Mike"
Astrogators guild;Snoopy's future orbits
A NASA history document shows air to ground between transcript of Apollo 10 crew during the mission
Snoopy then fires its engine into solar orbit 23 May 1969.
Listen in to air to ground as crew prepares to jettison Snoopy into solar orbit
I have found another great resource of possible ephemerides of Apollo 10 LM ascent stage
Data sheet on Landed LM Landed LM data sheet
Lunar Module impact from orbit data sheet
protected by kim holder Jun 25 '16 at 19:24
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