In 1971 we made revelations upon the mysterious rock in space. The Apollo 15 mission was successful and landed upon the Moon. Astronauts James B. Irwin, Lunar Module Pilot, and David R. Scott, Commander, deployed the first Lunar Roving Vehicle. Along with their Command Module Pilot, Alfred M. Worden, who manned the ship orbiting the moon while exploration was performed. A monumental step for mankind in the future of discovering the mysteries of the Moon and outer space itself. To decipher the unknown and explore the outer reach is imperative for us as a people to truly advance in science and technology.
For the survey of space to continue we decided it was time to bring a lunar rover and experiment with its success and findings. As our fourth recorded trip to the Moon, they were confident in the mission. The utilization of the rover would allow us to better examine the geology of the Moon and explore. According to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum website:
“Its primary scientific objectives were to observe the lunar surface, survey and sample material and surface features in a preselected area of the Hadley-Apennine region, setup and activate surface experiments, and conduct inflight experiments and photographic tasks from lunar orbit.”
And so it did. The deliverance of the rover to the Moon allowed us to explore a vast area; much, much more than we hoped. The astronauts launched on July 26th, 1971. The arrived to the Moon on July 30th, 1971. After arrival, the Lunar Module (Spaceship that descends to the surface of the Moon) proceeded its descent. Upon landing, Irwin and Scott decided it was best to rest and conserve their energy in or do to make most of the time they had. 48 years ago, to the day, these brave men exited their ship and made contact upon the surface of the Moon.
July 31st, 1971, the door of the shuttle opens. Once making contact these two pioneers knew they had a mission. Their mission had two main objectives according to the Lunar and Planetary Institute:
“First, the rim of the Imbrium Basin could be sampled along the Appenine Mountains. It was expected that this would provide material from deeper in the lunar crust than was sampled in the Fra Mauro Formation by Apollo 14. Second, this site provided an opportunity to explore Hadley Rille, a photogenic channel in the mare surface that was probably formed by volcanic processes.”
The exact landing site for the Apollo 15 is considered the Hadley-Apennine. This is due to its close proximity to both of the main two goals of the mission. Usage of the rover made quick work of this distance as well. The total time of lunar surface contact during the mission was 66 hours, 54 minutes and 53 seconds. They traversed over 28 kilometers while collecting samples, conducting experiments and photographing as much of the Moon as they could.
Some incredible images are available from the mission. They show the astronauts working, the geology of the Moon, the Lunar Rover and of course, the American Flag.
This is a map depicting the landing site for the Apollo 15 and its crew, as well as their planned traverse. You can see the paths they took to the various locations while using the rover.
Oh, what a site; the Apollo 15 Lunar Module Shuttle, Lunar Rover and one of our great Lunar pioneers. The idea of standing on the Moon seems so surreal. Man does the American Flag look great though.
These two pictures are the memorials these astronauts left behind for fallen astronauts. Names of 14 NASA astronauts as well as Soviet cosmonauts. If you look closely at the picture on the left you will see a small tin looking man. This is what signifies the astronauts.
Our history as a nation is constantly expanding. However, the exploration of the Moon will never be forgotten. It is a staple in the expansion and further augmentation of our knowledge in technology, science and the unknown. The Apollo 15 mission was the first to have a Lunar Land Rover and will not be the last. This was a legendary mark in history for our nation.