Apollo 15, 40 Years On: Five Odd Facts (Including Faulty Peeing, a Very Irked NASA & the Coolest Lunar Experiment

Categories: NASA

The rockingest moon ride ever.
Forty years ago today, two Americans were on the moon, getting ready to blast off from home.

Apollo 15 is another of the lesser-known moon missions, although it did introduce the very cool moon buggy.

In the past we've presented five off facts about the moon landing, Alan Shepard's flight and Apollo 14; let's see what Apollo 15 has to offer.

5. The most casual moonwalkers ever
Before Apollo 15, crews that reached the moon could not wait to get out onto the surface. Apollo 11 was supposed to have a sustained rest and sleep period once the Eagle landed, but they figured there was no way they were going to sleep anyway so what was the point?

Not Apollo 15. David Scott and Jim Irwin put the Falcon down during Houston's afternoon rush hour and decided to call it a night. They both probably were five-year-olds who first ate a healthy breakfast before looking for Christmas gifts, too.

4. The moon buggy didn't go very far
By far the most intriguing thing about Apollo 15 was the moon buggy. Tucked inside Falcon, it was lowered out via a system of pulleys and ropes and then sort of snapped itself together in a proto-Transformers way.

It greatly aided exploration, but not by driving vast distances. The astronauts were allowed to take it only far enough that they could reasonably walk back to the LM if the buggy died. It never got farther than about three miles from the Falcon. Of course, it allowed the astronauts to explore many more spots within that radius.

The lunar land speed record on it, by the way, was set by Apollo 17's Gene Cernan. Even though astronauts were told not to exceed 8 mph, Cernan gunned that ride to 11.2 mph, a record that will likely stand for some time.

Also, the rover camera allowed, for the first time, a view from the distance of the LM lifting off.



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The crew carried postal covers, not stamps. Read Worden's "Falling to Earth", his new book, for all the details on how a stamp dealer pulled the rug out from under the Apollo 15 crew, and how NASA overreacted.


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