Image: Soaring over Lunar Mt. Hadley
(Phys.org) —Apollo mission planners selected an adventurous landing site for Apollo 15 located on a relatively small patch of lava plains, called "mare" on the moon. This site is nestled between the towering Apennine mountains to the east, attaining heights of 3-5 km (about 10,000-16,000 feet), and the 200-meter-deep (about 650 feet) valley (~650 ft) of Hadley Rille to the west.
The experience gained from the successful landings of the preceding Apollo missions afforded mission controllers confidence that a landing descending through a mountain range was possible. The Hadley Rille landing site also presented an opportunity to test the capabilities of the new lunar roving vehicle.
NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter captured this oblique view, looking east-to-west over the Apennine Mountains towards Hadley Rille (upper left). Mt. Hadley, at center right, casts a long shadow. Nestled between the Apennines and Hadley Rille lies Hadley Base, the landing site of Apollo 15. For scale, the vee-shaped trough of Hadley Rille is roughly 1 km wide (about 0.6 miles).