'I Didn't Feel Any Obligation': 45 Years Since the Apollo 17 Decision (Part 1)

Forty years after Apollo 17, Jack Schmitt remains the only professional geologist to practice his art on another world. Pictured in this view with Old Glory at Taurus-Littrow, he is backdropped by the two celestial bodies upon which he had based his entire career: the Moon and the Earth. Photo Credit: NASA

As Project Apollo wore on, the intensity of lobbying by the scientific community to get geologist-astronaut Jack Schmitt to the Moon increased. Originally assigned to the Apollo 15 backup crew, Schmitt might have flown Apollo 18, prior to a sweeping cancelation of the final missions in the program. Photo Credit: NASA

For almost five […]

'A Peaceful, If Temporary Home': 45 Years Since the Mission of Apollo 15 (Part 4)

Jim Irwin works on digging a trench to test the bearing capacity of the lunar soil. He "solved a dog's job with a dog's technique". Photo Credit: NASA

Jim Irwin works on digging a trench to test the bearing capacity of the lunar soil. He “solved a dog’s job with a dog’s technique.” Photo Credit: NASA

Forty-five years ago, today, on 7 August 1971, the Apollo 15 crew—Commander Dave Scott, Lunar Module Pilot (LMP) Jim Irwin, and Command Module Pilot (CMP) Al Worden—returned […]

'Lifted Up On A Pedestal': 45 Years Since the Mission of Apollo 15 (Part 3)

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

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

Forty-five years ago, this week, 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 (CSM) Endeavour, astronaut Al Worden operated a […]

'The Reality of the Situation': 45 Years Since the Mission of Apollo 15 (Part 1)

For each Apollo landing crew, the cramped confines of the Lunar Module (LM) provided their sanctuary against the hostile extremes of an airless, lifeless world beyond. Photo Credit: NASA

For each Apollo landing crew, the cramped confines of the Lunar Module (LM) provided their sanctuary against the hostile extremes of an airless, lifeless world beyond. 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 Imbrium at the […]

'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/SpaceFacts.de

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 […]

'We Have Arrived': The Marvels of Apollo 10 (Part 3)

Mission controllers anxiously watch the “transposition and docking” of lunar module Snoopy, four hours into the Apollo 10 mission. Photo Credit: NASA

Four hours after a bone-jarring launch from Cape Kennedy and an equally rattling ride through Trans-Lunar Injection, the crew of Apollo 10 were finally on their way to the Moon on the […]

'We Didn’t Know the Questions': The Trials of Apollo 10 (Part 2)

 

Snoopy and Charlie Brown were everywhere in days surrounding Apollo 10. Photo Credit: NASA

Snoopy, the little black-and-white dog from the “Peanuts” comic strip, was everywhere in the days and hours leading up to the launch of Apollo 10. Forty-five years ago this week, he had become the mascot for a mission which […]