An 8x10 original photograph titled "AS16-118-18947," taken during the Apollo 16 mission between 16-27 April 1972, captures a 250mm view of lunar farside highland terrain, viewed north by westward from lunar orbit. This remarkable photograph focuses on an area centered at approximately 158 degrees east longitude and 17 degrees north latitude, featuring notable lunar craters such as Van Gent, Konstantinov, and Nagaoka. Notably, the photograph bears the "A KODAK PAPER" watermark on its verso, denoting its authenticity and period-correct production.
The Apollo 16 mission, part of NASA's larger Apollo program aimed at landing humans on the Moon and returning them safely to Earth, offers the historical context of this photograph. The mission, commanded by John Young and including lunar module pilot Charles Duke and command module pilot Thomas Mattingly, was the tenth crewed mission in the United States' Apollo space program and the fifth to land on the Moon. This photograph, taken during the mission's time in lunar orbit, provides a tangible piece of this significant period in the history of human space exploration.
The photograph presents a unique view of the lunar farside highland terrain, capturing the ethereal beauty and desolation of the Moon's surface. The large craters featured in this shot, including the Van Gent Crater at the extreme lower right corner, the unnamed crater positioned above it, the west part of Konstantinov Crater at extreme right center, and Nagaoka Crater just below the horizon at the upper left, add depth and dimension to the lunar landscape. This meticulous capture of the lunar surface and the technical execution involved in its production exemplifies the advanced photographic techniques employed during the Apollo missions.
The "AS16-118-18947" photograph stands as a testament to human achievements in space exploration and our quest to unravel the mysteries of the cosmos. It offers a glimpse into the trials and triumphs of the Apollo 16 mission, reflecting the tremendous strides made in our understanding of our celestial neighbor. As such, it holds both historical significance and aesthetic appeal, inviting contemplation of the past, present, and future of human engagement with space.
The Apollo 16 mission, launched on April 16, 1972, was the tenth crewed mission in NASA's Apollo space program and the fifth to successfully land humans on the Moon. Commanded by astronaut John Young, with Charles Duke serving as Lunar Module Pilot and Thomas Mattingly as Command Module Pilot, Apollo 16 spent over 71 hours on the lunar surface, primarily in the Descartes Highlands. This mission marked the first time astronauts explored the highlands area, collecting over 200 pounds of lunar samples for analysis back on Earth. Apollo 16, as a critical part of the broader Apollo program, contributed significantly to our understanding of lunar geology and paved the way for future manned space exploration.