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BBC – Future – Apollo in 50 tracks: Weight and goals



362: Total mass of Moonrocks collected in kg

The Apollo program was perceived as a political challenge to beat the Russians to the moon. It became a technical challenge to achieve that goal and finally a scientific challenge to ensure that astronauts did something useful when they came there.

The key to this was to train the Apollo herds in field geology. In addition to classrooms, astronauts participated in field trips to Hawaii, Mexico, Iceland and Germany. They learned about rock formations, volcanoes and meteorite craters.

"It was fun," says Apollo 15 command module pilot, Al Worden. "We built a picture in our minds about what we were looking for."

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The moon, astronauts were equipped with hammers, scoops and exercises. Meanwhile, command module pilots in the moon shift, such as Worden, have made observations over much larger areas.

"I flew over the landing areas, describing the great general features that would complement what they found on the surface," says Worden. "I think it really helped paint a picture of the moon."

The first (and only) geologist to visit the moon was Harrison Schmitt. During his Apollo 1

7 mission, he discovered orange beads of rock – strong signs of volcanic activity on the moon. The crew brought up some 741 samples, weighing massive 111kgs.

The 2100 stone and soil samples collected on the moon were taken to the moon's reception laboratory in Houston. Although at least Apollo 11 was, the astronauts had to complete a customs declaration first.

The moonstones have since been donated to governments, museums or lent to scientific institutions for study. Others have remained sealed in their containers, untouched since they were assembled.

The analysis of the samples has revealed the history of the moon and provided convincing evidence that the earth and moon are formed as a result of a giant storm between an early planet and another astronomical body.

60: Number of kilometers traveled on the moon

Mission controllers were eager for Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin not stray far from the lander, their turn home. The longest crew went to a nearby crater that reached a total distance of about half a mile.

But as the missions went on and the time spent on the surface rose, the astronauts went on. Even in 1/6 gravity, the limit of the Moon was tiring, and their range was limited.

The month's driving record was still held by the last man on the moon, Gene Cernan

During Apollo 15 in 1972, Dave Scott and Jim Irwin had to run the first lunar robber. With a maximum speed of 10mph (16km / h), the electric vehicle transported them about 14 miles.

"Rover handles quite well … I can maneuver pretty well," Scott reported for mission control. "It negotiates small craters quite well, but it feels like we need the safety belts."

"As in the owner's manual, Dave," the earth answers.

Monthly run is still registered by the last man on the Moon, Gene Cernan. During his Apollo 17 landing with Harrison Schmitt, he summed up 22 miles (35km) on the clock – traveling a maximum of four miles from the spacecraft.

4.5: Lunar module habitable volume in cubic meters

After the intensity of the moon's landing and two and a half hours on the Moon's surface, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin closed the hood of their lands and re-pressurized the cabin. They were exhausted. Before blowing back to the command module in orbit, they were scheduled to sleep.

"The rest was almost a complete loss," wrote Armstrong later in his mission report. "Noise, lighting and a temperature that was less than desired were annoying."

Although the lunar module turned out to be a large spacecraft, it was far from comfortable as a housing module. The violent cylinder of the rising engine cover – rising like a barrel in the middle of the cabin – meant there was little floor space.

Armstrong tried to sleep on the engine cover and Aldrin on the floor.

"The window shades did not blow out of the light completely, the cabin was illuminated by a combination of light through shades, warning lights and display lights," Armstrong complained.

During later missions, the astronauts slept in their underwear in hammocks

"The noise from the glycol pumps was so high enough to interrupt sleep," he added. "Lunar module pilot [Aldrin] estimated that he slept well for maybe two hours, and the commandant didn't sleep at all."

During later missions, the astronauts slept in their underwear in hammocks. Nevertheless, with all the excitement of being on the moon, few reported that they were getting a good night's sleep.

7: Maximum re-entry rate, in miles per second

27. December 1968, the crew of Apollo 8 was becoming the fastest people in history. After traveling to the moon, Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders prepared to reintroduce the Earth's atmosphere. They were traveling at 36,303 feet per day. Second (almost seven miles per second).

This would be the ultimate test of the Apollo command module and its resin heat shield, designed to protect the crew from temperatures up to 3000 C (5,432 F).

"We used the atmosphere to slow us down," says Borman. "From a physical point of view, it was the most difficult part of the mission because you pull six gs for quite some time and it becomes difficult to breathe."

"It was like flying inside a neon light or a blowtorch – it was the most dramatic part of the flight."

But that was not the most unpleasant. Splashing at night in the Pacific, the spacecraft scattered up and down and the astronauts hung in their seats.

"The spacecraft was a miserable boat," says Borman. "We had to wait two hours for daylight because the fleet didn't want to put divers in when there were sharks."

"I became seasick and threw himself over Anders and Lovell," he says. "I still hear about it this day."

Their quick record didn't last for many months. The record for the fastest re-entry and thus the record for the fastest speed ever achieved by humans goes to the Apollo 10 crew. In May 1968, they returned to the ground at 36,397 feet per second – that's 24.816mph (39.705km / h).

(You can hear more about Apollo 8 here.)

238.855: Distance to the moon for miles

After the intensity of the launch, some astronauts felt that traveling to the Moon was rather dull.

"Three and a half days we had nothing to do," says Apollo 15 command module pilot Al Worden. "All we had to do was wait until we got to the moon, and that is quite a dull time."

The reason we know the average distance to the moon with such accuracy is thanks to one of the experiments used on the surface during the mission of the Word

When the earth tore down behind them, astronauts chatted, read, listened to for music or tried to exercise by means of resistance bands. They also participated in television shows. You may look like being limited to a small car with two colleagues who occasionally live the experience.

"There are few moments during the day during outbound trip where we would make small course corrections," he adds. "It's the most exciting thing we did out." "

The reason we know the average distance to the moon with such accuracy is thanks to one of the experiments used on the surface during the mission of the Word. Astronauts on Apollo 11, 14 and 15 left units called Laser Ranging Retroreflectors (LRR) These special mirrors were designed to reflect lasers directed through Earth telescopes. (If you wanted to translate that distance into marathons, you should run 9,186 of them to match it.)

They are still used today and have given astronomers a better understanding of the Moon's orbit, and they have also discovered that the moon is moving farther from the ground – it is currently declining to 38 mm a year.

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