The Apollo 11 Landing Site Superimposed on a Baseball Diamond

Our moon landing may have been grand, but our astronauts did not go far.

Apollo11_baseball2.jpg

As we've reflected on Neil Armstrong's death* and the Curiosity Rover's arrival on Mars, I've found myself trying to comprehend two radically different scales: 1) the sheer immensity of our solar system and 2) the tiny scale of our actual missions to other celestial bodies. 

I'm not sure I'll ever be able to think in the hundreds of thousands (or millions) of miles. At a certain size, the numbers seem so large they become arbitrary. 

The second scale, though, is graspable. The problem is that we don't have an intuitive sense of distance on the Moon or Mars. Particularly with Curiosity, we have nothing we can use as a reference size. The same is true for certain Apollo photographs, particularly because they've been distorted by the lens of time, too.

So, I appreciate that Maria Popova brought back this fantastic visualization of the Apollo 11 mission at Ex.plore.com. It presents the mission's travels superimposed on a baseball diamond. German space enthusiast Thomas Schwagmeier created the map for NASA's History office and it's not only revealing, but beautiful. The original "traverse map" on which it was based is seen below. (You can click on them both to see them at full size.)

a11traverse.jpg

* My initial post misspelled Neil as 'Neal,' a mistake that I truly regret.
Presented by

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Technology

Just In