>> Sunday, July 19, 2009
Lee asked me (before we left for the reunion): Hey, if there's one thing I'm skeptical about, it's the rover. How'd they get that on the moon anyway?
Given that tomorrow is the anniversary of the first moon landing (sans rover), I thought it would be a good one for today so here goes. Here's a schematic (of unknown accuracy) of the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM).
This is how we got there. Of course, the crew was tucked up in the top, but they kept the Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV) in Quadrant 1 (which, of course, isn't labeled) folded up neatly. The first crewmember would release it from the storage and then the second crewmember would angle it down using pulleys and levers. Then, they'd unfold it and away it would go. Although a svelte 210 kg, it could carry 490 kg over some pretty challenging terrain. Very nice.
The rover was actually a pretty slick vehicle for being designed in just 17 months, but it had a problem with the flimsy fenders that came off on at least two missions (the second time repaired with some EVA maps, clamps and, yes, duct tape). Although the rover still drove fine, it threw up dust over anything and caused overheating and battery problems. The vehicles are still up there with all the other stuff that was too heavy to bring back.
Only three flights used LRVs, Apollo 15, 16 and 17 where their range was drastically improved over going by foot.
And, since I spotted this as I was looking this up ('cause I didn't know), this gorgeous picture of Apollo 11's LEM (the Eagle) in lunar orbit. Enjoy.