Sleeping On Alien Shores: The Unquiet Slumbers of the Apollo Moonwalkers

Covered in lunar grime, and clad only in his water-cooled underwear, Gene Cernan manages a grin for Jack Schmitt’s camera, aboard the Lunar Module (LM) Challenger during the Apollo 17 mission in December 1972. The astronauts’ space suits can be seen, stashed at the back of the cramped cabin. Above the helmets can be […]

Top Ten US EVAs of All Time: No. 2—'What We Came For'

Dave Scott works with the Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV) on the slopes of Hadley Rille during Apollo 15. Photo Credit: NASA

More than four decades have passed since one of the most brilliant missions ever undertaken in the annals of space science. Apollo 15, launched in July 1971, carried U.S. astronauts Dave Scott, Al […]

Walking on an Alien World: The First 50 Years of Spacewalking (Part 2)

A mere four years after humanity’s first spacewalk, EVA and space suit technology advanced sufficiently to permit Neil Armstrong’s historic first steps on the Moon. Photo Credit: NASA

Fifty years ago, yesterday, on 18 March 1965, humanity became an “extravehicular” spacefaring civilization for the first time, when 30-year-old Soviet cosmonaut Alexei Leonov ventured outside […]

'Working a Monkey Board': The First 50 Years of Spacewalking (Part 1)

Five decades have now passed since humanity’s first foray beyond the confines of their pressurized spacecraft and into the airless void beyond. Photo Credit: NASA

Fifty years ago, today, on 18 March 1965, a 30-year-old Soviet cosmonaut named Alexei Leonov became the first human in history to depart the confines of his spacecraft in […]

'Open-Ended': What 1967 Might Have Been

The Apollo 1 crew, pictured during training, would have embarked on an open-ended mission of up to 14 days in duration in February-March 1967. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/

Figuratively and literally, February is a gloomy month, particularly in the Northern Hemisphere—a four-week period of darkness, plunging temperatures, and poor weather, with the […]

45 Years Since Apollo 12: The Surveyor and the Lonely Man (Part 4)

The Surveyor 3 landing craft, backdropped by the Apollo 12 lunar module Intrepid, as viewed by Pete Conrad and Al Bean at the Ocean of Storms in November 1969. Photo Credit: NASA

Within minutes of arriving on the Moon’s surface, early on 19 November 1969, Apollo 12 astronaut Charles “Pete” Conrad began erecting an […]

45 Years Since Apollo 12: The Hammer and the Protuberances (Part 3)

Al Bean carries the panniers of the first Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package (ALSEP) across the dusty terrain for installation. Photo Credit: NASA

Forty-five years ago, in November 1969, the human race comprised an estimated three billion souls on Planet Earth … and three others. A quarter of a million miles away, Apollo 12 astronauts […]

45 Years Since Apollo 12: The $500 Bet and the Lightning Strike (Part 1)

Al Bean begins his descent from the hatch of the lunar module Intrepid toward the surface at the Ocean of Storms. Photo Credit: NASA

One thing that irritated Charles “Pete” Conrad was the public belief that astronauts were told to say certain things during their missions. He knew that when Neil Armstrong became the […]

'Mr. Galileo Was Correct': The Grand Voyage of Apollo 15 (Part 2)

Haunting view of Jim Irwin with the lunar rover, backdropped by the grandeur of Mount Hadley. Photo Credit: NASA

As July burned into August 1971, three sons of Planet Earth were midway through their exploration of the Moon. Aboard the command and service module Endeavour, astronaut Al Worden operated a sophisticated array of scientific equipment from […]

'Man Must Explore': The Grand Voyage of Apollo 15 (Part 1)

The “unreal” clarity of the lunar landscape, caused by the near-total absence of atmospheric haze or particulates, was problematic for the Apollo 15 crew when judging distance at Hadley. Photo Credit: NASA

Four hundred miles (640 km) to the north of the Moon’s equator lies a place called Hadley: a small patch of Mare […]