Could the Apollo 11 lunar module still be orbiting the Moon?

According to one researcher, at least two of the Apollo lunar modules that took astronauts up and down from the Moon could still be in lunar orbit, though their location is presently unknown.

His paper outlining the possible survival of the Apollo 11 LM Eagle can be found here. From his abstract:

The Apollo 11 “Eagle” Lunar Module ascent stage was abandoned in lunar orbit after the historic landing in 1969. Its fate is unknown. Numerical analysis described here provides evidence that this object might have remained in lunar orbit to the present day. The simulations show a periodic variation in eccentricity of the orbit, correlated to the selenographic longitude of the apsidal line. The rate of apsidal precession is correlated to eccentricity. These two factors appear to interact to stabilize the orbit over the long term.

More details here.

Hat tip to reader Mike Nelson, who sent me this story today. I am certain I reported it previously, but searching on Behind the Black failed to find it, so I decided to post again. As the researcher concludes:

Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could find this amazing little vessel and bring her back to Earth!!!!

July 20, 1969: “The Eagle has landed”

An evening pause: In honor of the fiftieth anniversary.

Note the calm tone in all the voices, even when something is not quite right. To do really great things, one must not let one’s emotions run the show. You need to be cool-headed and focused on the task at at hand. If only today’s adult generation, especially in the world of politics, would do the same.

Just before Armstrong brings Eagle down, you will hear a voice say “60 seconds,” then “30 seconds.” That is mission control telling him how much time they estimate he has before he runs out of fuel.

Below the fold is the same last few minutes of the landing, produced by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) science team using its high resolution images to recreate a simulation of what Armstrong saw in his window. Remember, the view in the original 16mm film was out Aldrin’s window.

» Read more