Apollo 16 Lunar Rover “Grand Prix”

An evening pause: This seems especially appropriate with the arrival of another rover on Mars last week.

On their first day of three on the lunar surface, John Young and Charles Duke deployed their rover and took it for a test drive before heading out to nearby Plum Crater for two hours of sample gathering and exploration.

This footage shows Young driving with Duke filming and reporting what he sees. The goal was to gather engineering data on how the rover’s wheels functioned in the very dusty lunar soil.

This short clip nicely illustrates the ambitious achievement of the American Apollo missions that should give pause to any arrogant modern young engineer. This was before home computers and CAD-CAM. It was designed by hand and slide-rule, using inches, pounds, and feet. And it worked, and worked magnificently. Oh if we today could only do as well.

Hat tip Björn “Local Fluff” Larsson.

LRO finds lunar impact site for Apollo rocket stage

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has located the impact site for the Apollo 16 rocket booster that, like four other boosters, had been deliberately crashed on the surface so the Apollo seismometers could use the vibrations to study the Moon’s interior.

The other impact sites had been found already, but Apollo 16 was harder to pin down because contact with the booster had ended prematurely so its location was less well known.

Bezos gives museum recovered Saturn V engines

Jeff Bezos today personally delivered to the Seattle Musuem of Flight the restored remains of two Apollo Saturn V engines that his company recovered from the ocean floor in 2013.

Over the course of two and a half years, the experts at the museum worked to stabilize the F-1 engine parts, halting the corrosion caused by the salt water. The engines were not restored, however. Rather they were conserved in their “as found” condition to preserve their full history, from the sky to the sea.

In the process, the Cosmosphere was able to reveal and research the parts’ serial numbers and identify the flight history for most of the large parts. The conservators were able to tie the components to the Apollo 11 and Apollo 12 missions in 1969 and to Apollo 16 in 1972.

The Apollo 11 components will be donated to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington.