• Apollo 12: “It was perhaps a small step for Neil, but it is a big one for me!”
More ambitious than Apollo 11, and yet less than budgeted, Apollo 12 has three main goals: to land with precision to recover the probe Surveyor 3, placed by Nasa in 1967 ; record for the first time videos the color of the Moon ; and deploy a suite of scientific instruments named ALSEP. On November 14, 1969, Alan Bean, Charles “Pete” Conrad and Richard Gordon boarded the Saturn V. But while the rocket is on the rise, the lightning striking full force.
“If for you, beauty is synonymous with flowers and animals, clouds and colors, this place has no form of beauty. (…) It is an interesting world, but a rude and hostile.”
A second bolt, the key shortly after and detaches his artificial horizon: the astronauts are not aware of, the greater the angle of direction of the rocket. Conrad succeeds, however, to establish the auxiliary power supply and the flight avoids the cancellation.
on The 19th of November, the crew landed at only 200 meters of Surveyor 3. Al Bean and Pete Conrad poses foot on the Moon. “Maybe it was a small step for Neil, but it is a big one for me!” exclaimed Conrad. But the “big step” is followed by small false notes: Alan Bean burns one of the components of the color camera by pointing accidentally his lens toward the sun. The two astronauts also forget behind them a cassette of pictures taken on the spot. Apollo 12 is, however, considered as a success: its return on November 24th, the crew takes 34 pounds of rocks and confirms having spent almost 8 hours on the Moon, five hours and thirty minutes more than the astronauts of Apollo 11.
one of The two astronauts of Apollo 12 have walked on the Moon, 19 November 1969. NASA/AFP • Apollo 13: “Houston, we’ve had a problem”
Apollo 13 was a failure. On April 11, 1970, astronauts Jim Lovell, John Swigert and Fred Haise took off from the Kennedy Center (Florida). But the situation becomes complicated two days later. During the trip, one of the oxygen tanks in the service module explodes, due to numerous design deficiencies. “Houston, we’ve had a problem”, says the pilot Jack Swigert. Jim Lovell also realizes that a second tank is empty dangerously. It only remains for the astronauts than a few hours of oxygen. The continuation of the mission is impossible.
The three astronauts of Apollo 13 photographed on April 17, 1970, a few moments after their return to Earth. AFP/AFP
But at 300,000 kilometers from Earth, the half-turn is impossible: the maneuver would be too costly in fuel. Apollo 13 must then use the gravity of the Moon to get around it and come back naturally on Earth. The three men take refuge in the lunar module. Problem: it is designed to provide 45 hours of oxygen… just two people. The length of the return, however, is estimated to be four days. In order to save on resources, the astronauts degrade voluntarily certain parameters of the vessel. “There is no risk to review another moon mission before a good time,” said then Jim Lovell. Four days later, the module amerrit in the Pacific Ocean. John Swigert, Fred Haise and Jim Lovell are found safe and sound, but exhausted and emaciated: in total, the crew has lost at least 14 pounds!
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• Apollo 14: “You have typed more dust than bullets”
The shadow of the failure of Apollo 13 is pushing Nasa to ask questions, and then to create new procedures of checks. It integrates the control module, an oxygen tank independent, less conducive to degradation. The u.s. agency gives to Apollo 14, the original objectives of Apollo 13: the exploration of the geological formation known as Fra Mauro, which consists of a mountain massif and a large crater.
Edgar Mitchell on the Moon February 5, 1971, using the MET, a kind of carriage. RIA NOVOSTI/AFP
astronauts Alan Shepard – first american to have been in space in 1961, Edgar Mitchell and Stuart Roosa lifted off January 31, 1971. They land on Fra Mauro on February 5. In total, Shepard and Mitchell will explore during more than nine hours the natural satellite. They collect 46 pounds of rocks using a “trolley” is named the MET (Modular Equipment Transporter). And most importantly, they record the first videos in the colour of the lunar surface. Finally, Alan Shepard achieved a performance sports unusual: with a club improvised, he takes two golf balls on the Moon. “You have typed more dust than bullets”, he replied Mitchell. On 9 February, the crew of Apollo 14 returns to Earth in full health. A thundering success that counterbalances the sad failure of the previous mission. However, Nasa announced the cancellation of Apollo 18, 19 and 20, because of budget cuts.
• Apollo 15: “Man must explore”
Apollo 15 signed a technological leap. Nasa makes the Saturn V more powerful and enhances its lunar module: the astronauts will be able to stay two times longer on the surface of the satellite. Nasa also provides to the crew of Apollo 15 – David Scott, James Irwin and Alfred Worden – a lunar rover, to the place of the “cart”.
James Irwin posing near the lunar module and the rover, Apollo 15, August 11, 1971. -/AFP
This electric vehicle fold-out, two-seater and all-terrain riding at fifteen miles per hour. It significantly increases the scope of action of the astronauts. David Scott and James Irwin pose foot on the Moon July 30, 1971, in the area of the Apennine mountains, reaching thousands of meters of altitude. Scott says: “There is a truth fundamental in our nature: Man must explore”.
The two astronauts conducting 19 hours of spacewalks, totaling 66 hours on the lunar surface. They harvested 77 pounds of rocks and travel 28 miles. On his side, in orbit, Worden performs scientific experiments. Apollo 15 was the first mission to integrate the service module a set of instruments, such as a camera pan, a mass spectrometer, a laser altimeter… back on Earth on 7 August 1971, the astronauts returned victorious. The only downside: the three men had boarded several hundreds of stamped envelopes on the Moon, in order to sell them after the mission. Nasa discovre the ploy and begins to walk Scott, Irwin and Worden.
• Apollo 16: “We invented a race of what are called the olympic Games lunar”
With Apollo 16, Nasa pushes the boundaries of lunar exploration. John Young, Charles Duke and Ken Mattingly have for objective scientific study of the satellite. After their lunar landing April 21st, 1972, in the region of the crater Descartes, the astronauts will deploy four scientific tools important: two seismometers, a magnetometer, and an instrument for measuring heat flows. A mini-science satellite is also deployed from the service module, in orbit.
The crew harvest 95,8 kilos of rocks and spent 71 hours on the surface of the Moon, including 20 hours in the rover. Charles Duke took the opportunity to film John Young driving the vehicle, that Apollo 15 has not been able to do because of a camera problem. The two Americans invent also a test of the “Olympic Games lunar”, trying to jump as high as possible. The three astronauts step ashore in the Pacific ocean on 27 April 1972.
• Apollo 17: “The challenge of America today has forged Man’s destiny of tomorrow”
they know They are the last Americans to go to the Moon before a long time. Ronald Evans, Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt left the Earth on 7 December 1972. By landing on the natural satellite on December 11th, Schmitt and Cernan began the most productive of the lunar missions Apollo. The crew takes 110 pounds of lunar samples and spends more than 21 hours outside their craft.
On December 7, 1972, for the last time, the american astronauts boarded the Saturn V in order to set foot on the Moon. -/AFP
The astronauts explore the three craters, at the level of the valley of Taurus-Littrow. They also report of the lunar dust and Cernan described the smell as similar to the “gun powder”. Cernan also leaves behind him a camera, with the lens pointed towards the space, according to The Telegraph. To this day, she still has not been recovered.
on The 14th of December, the two astronauts leave the Moon. Cernan said then: “The challenge of America today has forged Man’s destiny of tomorrow”. Apollo 17 returns to Earth on 19 December 1972, in the south-west of Samoa. The set of scientific instruments (ALSEP) deposited on the Moon by the various Apollo missions would provide the data until 1977.
No individual since Apollo 17 walked on the Moon. Last march, Donald Trump has announced that it wants to return american astronauts on the moon by 2024.