The Moon is a Junkyard: A Catalogue of Lunar Detritus

Luna — The Moon — represents a contradiction to a child of the Apollo era. It seems simultaneously to embody both the old and the new. It is our most primeval heavenly body, an ancient rock embedded in the deepest lizard brain of the collective unconscious. But for more than fifty years, it has also been the target of our most advanced scientific inquiry, and its face is littered with the remnants of high technology.

This page originated some ten years ago as an attempt to catalogue the dozens of sites where human-built hardware lies, intact or shattered, on the lunar surface. Primary source for these data was the NSSDC at Goddard Space Flight Center. When I first put this list together, it took a lot of searching on NSSDC and even browsing of an actual library to get the data; NASA's book on Project Ranger was about as accurate as it got. Today, everything I found then — and then some — is readily available on Wikipedia.

Nevertheless, here is a Google Moon rendition of what used to be a crappy image map with tiny, nearly unclickable markers.

Comments, questions, and especially corrections/additions are welcome. Kevin S. Forsyth


Image source: NASA, unless otherwise noted.