'A Nation of Quitters': 45 Years Since the Summer Apollo Ended (Part 2)

Training for a mission which, for one of them, would never come to pass, Dick Gordon (left) and Jack Schmitt work with a mockup of the Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV) during their Apollo 15 backup duties. Schmitt’s importance as a professional geologist assured him a seat on Apollo 17. Gordon was not so lucky. […]

'A Nation of Quitters': 45 Years Since the Summer Apollo Ended (Part 1)

Apollo 15, originally the last of the H-series lunar landing missions, evolved to become the first member of the J-series, following the tumultuous events of 1970. Photo Credit: NASA

In 2011, Hollywood had us believe that the crew of Apollo 18 fell victim to spider-like aliens and a sinister conspiracy, spearheaded by the Department […]

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 […]

'Like a Game of Solitaire': 45 Years Since the Lost Moonwalks of Apollo 13

Artist’s concept of Apollo 13 astronauts Jim Lovell and Fred Haise exploring Fra Mauro. The Lunar Module (LM) Aquarius is visible in the background. Image Credit: Teledyne Brown

Had the cruelty of fate not intervened, 45 years ago, today—on 16 April 1970—the fifth and sixth humans ever to set foot on another world would […]

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 […]

Opportunity Rover Celebrates 10th Anniversary Since Arrival on Mars

The Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity was given a 90-day life expectancy; she is currently in her 10th year of Martian exploration. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/Arizona State Univ.

Less than a year after it broke the record for the farthest-driven NASA vehicle on an alien world, the Mars Exploration Rover-B—better known as “Opportunity”—tomorrow celebrates the 10th anniversary of […]

Mars Rover Opportunity Halfway to Next Destination

The Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity is halfway to its next destination, Solander Point. Photo Credit: NASA / JPL

Since August 2011, NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has been exploring the rim of a 14-mile-wide crater called Endeavour that is geologically very distinct from anything the robot craft had previously encountered. Ancient rocks and clay […]

From People on Wheels to People and Wheels on the Moon: The Automotive Lunar Explorers

Jim Irwin works with the lunar rover, backdropped by the grandeur of Hadley, in July-August 1971. Photo Credit: NASA

Chrysler, Delco, Ford, and General Motors are hardly the sort of names—at first glance—that might be associated with Project Apollo, the grandest and boldest adventure of exploration in human history. Since the dawn of the […]

40 Years Since Apollo 17: Part 4 – “We Shall Return”

The fragility of Earth hangs like a Christmas bauble in the black sky above Taurus-Littrow. Together with Old Glory—earlier planted by Gene Cernan and Jack Schmitt—it offered one of the few aspects of colour in this uniformly grey landscape. Photo Credit: NASA

Forty years ago, this month, the ethereal stillness and silence of ages […]

40 Years Since Apollo 17: Part 3 - End of the Beginning

In the final manned flight of a Saturn V—and the behemoth rocket’s only nocturnal launch—the astronauts of Apollo 17 roar into low-Earth orbit in the opening minutes of 7 December 1972. The astonishing event turned night into day for hundreds of miles. Photo Credit: NASA

Forty years ago, this month, two human explorers bounced […]