Category How to Find the Apollo Landing Sites

Lunar Photography

Many of the non-NASA lunar photos in this book were taken by the author. The equipment used was selected to reflect typical sized telescopes owned by a majority of backyard observers. 80 mm to 130 mm refractors on equatorial mounts were utilized, with a digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera. The majority of the author’s photos were taken using a 102 mm Stellarvue 102ED mounted on a Celestron CG-4 equatorial mount, with a few photos from a 130 mm aperture Brandon refractor mounted on a computer-driven Vixen equatorial mount. A Canon Rebel XTi DSLR camera was used with either the prime focus technique or Barlow projection technique with a Proxima 1.5x Barlow, in combination with various camera-to-telescope adaptors. The goal was to present the reader a view of the Moon through a typical hobbyist’s telescope at low and medium magnifications.

The reader will notice that many of the photos were taken when the Moon was not full. The Moon, being a three-dimensional object, casts beautiful shadows dur­ing its less-than-full phases. The full Moon tends to be drab and two dimensional, both in photographs and with the naked eye peering through the eyepiece of a telescope, because the fully illuminated surface casts no shadows. So, for eye appeal and the logical fact that there are more days that the Moon is not in its full phase, many of the locator photographs in this book were taken during the first quarter and gibbous phases of the Moon.

Site Selection

From the standpoint of the Apollo program, NASA planners desired an initial target area to be one of typical mare and near the lunar equator. The selected region was a relatively detached sea between Ocean of Storms and Sea of Clouds, bounded by the Riphean Mountains on one side and the bright cratered area containing Guericke Crater and Parry-Bonpland Crater on the other.

Mission Description

Launch: July 28, 1964. Impacted Moon: July 31, 1964, at 13:25:49 UT. Landing Site: Mare Cognitum (The Sea that has Become Known), 10.35°S lat., 339.42°E long.

The mission objective of Ranger 7 was carried out flawlessly by obtaining close – up pictures of the lunar surface for the benefit of both the scientific community and the Apollo program planning. Ranger 7 transmitted approximately 4,000 television pictures of the target area before smashing itself in the lunar surface. The signals from the six television cameras aboard the spacecraft were transmitted during the last 17 minutes of the flight. The picture taking spanned a distance range from slightly more than 1,800 miles to approximately 500 yards above the surface.

Fig. 10.12 Photo Sequence taken by Ranger 8 p camera approaching the Moon. Courtesy of NASA


Site Selection

The basic objective in selecting the Ranger 8 impact site was to choose an area which, in conjunction with the Ranger 7 photographs, would provide a more com­plete knowledge of the lunar maria within the Moon’s equatorial zone. Applying the newly evolving Apollo constraints, a point near the equator and 15° from the termi­nator was chosen.

Robotic Exploration Versus Manned Exploration

A decades long debate has existed over the merits of robotic exploration, using deep space probes and landing robotic rovers, instead of manned missions.

Supporters of manned missions have cited the large and ever increasing numbers of scientific papers based on data generated from the Apollo mission in the four

decades since Apollo Moon landings. The area covered by the astronauts, onsite human judgement for sampling or executing experiments, and the efficiencies and problem solving of manned exploration are often cited as advantages.

Robotic exploration is less expensive and more resource efficient. When the kind of resources necessary to accomplish a manned Mars mission, dozens of robotic missions can be planned and accomplished for robotic exploration of a good part of the Solar System, including the large major planets and visiting comets and asteroids. Without the burden and risks of keeping astronauts alive in space, robotic exploration does not need advanced propulsion to lessen the transit time, heavy and cumbersome shielding from radiation, or life support systems. As is done now, planetary gravity assisted deep space probes can take years to arrive at their solar system goals and accomplish their missions.

The drawback to robotic exploration are twofold. One is the risk of equipment failure that is difficult to correct in-flight. The Jupiter probe Galileo is a prime example. After its launch, the main antenna failed to fully deploy. Despite repeated attempts to dislodge and free 3 of the 18 antenna ribs, the main antenna never was fully functional. Fortunately, a secondary low-gain antenna was used in the main antennas place to transmit data, but at a reduced bandwidth. The lower bandwidth resulted in slower transmission speed, and only 70 % of the Galileo scientific goals being met.

The second drawback is that a robotic mission does not capture the imagina­tion of mankind. Great accomplishments and discoveries have result from robotic missions, but the lack of a human presence does not produce the public excite­ment. People don’t remember where they were when Surveyor 1 landed on the Moon, but people remember where they were and how they felt when Apollo 11 landed and Neil Armstrong took his first step on the lunar surface. Robotic mis­sions do not produce the same exhilaration of the human spirit as manned explo­ration does.

A possible alternative that is the hybrid of both types of exploration is a manned mission to Mars orbit, with the deployment of a robot astronaut remotely controlled from the manned Mars spacecraft in orbit. A human astronaut would have realtime control capability of a robot astronaut on the Martian surface for exploration and experimentation.

One of the current problems of controlling Mars rovers, such as Curiosity, Spirit, or Opportunity, is the 5-20 minutes command latency because of the distance from Earth to Mars. A manned spacecraft orbiting Mars can launch a robot astronaut for landing on the Martian surface and provide realtime or near-realtime control. Greater selectivity of samples and human-like dexterity can be designed into a robot astronaut. New robotic technology can provide a remote controlled human analog on the surface of Mars without the risks of exposing humans to the chal­lenges of landing on, surviving the Martian environment, exploring, and lifting off the surface of Mars. A large cost savings can result by removing the technological challenge of landing on and taking off the surface of Mars. Multiple robot astro­nauts could be deployed over different areas of Mars during the same mission, achieving greater coverage of the planet. Multiple deployment maximizes the mission effectiveness, and maximizes the cost efficiency of the mission. The robot astronaut can be switched off at mission’s end, and possibly used in future mis­sions – more bang for the buck. No life support concerns would be incurred on the Martian surface. The risk to human life, and overall mission risk would be lessened with this type of hybrid mission, while providing greater control of experiments and Martian sampling than currently available with Mars rovers. A simpler, more cost effective, more efficient, and less risky manned Mars mission may be achieved with this type of hybrid man-machine approach.

NASA Apollo, Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, and Other Lunar Probes

The structure of this book was developed to allow the reader to proceed from pic­ture to picture on a zoom-in journey: locating the Apollo landings on the Moon from a naked eye or binocular point-of-view, to a telescope view, then transition to NASA photos of the landing sites, to finally photos from each landing taken by the Apollo astronauts during their missions. NASA has thousands of lunar photos, of which many are indelibly imprinted in the public’s mind. Rather than repeated the familiar, many of the NASA photos chosen for this book for comparison to the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO, photos.

The genesis of this book stems from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) photos first released to the public in 2009. Among the LRO photos were the over­head images of the Apollo landing sites, with amazing details of the Lunar Module (LM) descent stage, trails left by the astronauts walking or using the Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV), and experiments left on the Moon’s surface. Seeing these LRO photos recapture for many people the memories and excitement of the Golden Age of NASA.

In researching for this book, the author was reminded of the unmanned lunar missions that preceded Apollo: the first and long forgotten photographic probe

Ranger series, and the lunar landing Surveyor. These early attempts by NASA, first to impact the Moon with Ranger, and then to accomplish lunar landings with Surveyor, were clearly a scientific and engineering learning experience. The first six Ranger missions were punctuated by failures in equipment and technique. Ranger 1 and 2 experienced launch failures. Ranger 3 and 5 missed the Moon entirely, while Ranger 4 and 6 impacted the Moon but failed to relay any data back to NASA. It wasn’t until Ranger 7, 8, and 9 that the NASA mission goals were accomplished by relaying photographic data prior to impacting the Moon.

The Surveyor program had its own share of problems, with Surveyor 2 and 4 crashing and Surveyor 3 having unplanned launches from the Moon’s surface due to the vernier rockets continuing to fire. Again, the lessons learned from the early Surveyor missions enabled NASA to successfully complete Surveyor 5, 6, and 7 missions.

Mission Description

Launch: February 17, 1965. Impacted Moon: February 20, 1965, at 09:57:37 UT. Landing Site: Sea of Tranquility, 2.67°N lat., 24.65°E long.

The prime objective of the mission, to obtain high-resolution photographs of Sea of Tranquility, was met. During the 23 minutes the cameras operated before impact, a large swath of the Moon was photographed at high resolution for the first time. Excellent photographs of Delambre Crater, the southern shoreline of Sea of Tranquility, and the crater pair Ritter and Sabine were obtained. The last picture was taken 0.09 second before impact from an altitude of approximately 500 feet. The impact point was less than 12 miles from the selected target. The eventual Apollo 11 landing site can be found among the Ranger 8 photograph series.

Fig. 10.15 Courtesy of NAS A

Fig. 10.17 Photo sequence taken by Ranger 9 p camera approaching the Moon. Courtesy of NASA

Site Selection

Since Ranger 7 and 8 missions had successfully provided high-resolution coverage to the two principal types of mare, it was decided that Ranger 9 photograph other types of terrain. Mission planners eventually settled on the highlands surrounding the Alphonsus Crater as the target.

Mission Description

Launch: March 21, 1965. Impacted Moon: March 24, 1965 at 14:08:20 UT. Landing Site: Alphonsus Crater, 12.83°S lat., 357.63°E long.

The Ranger 9 flight concluded the Ranger series in a spectacular fashion, with the direct broadcast of the B-camera telecast over national television as the space­craft approached the Moon. Unlike its predecessors, which photographed relatively simple mare terrain, Ranger 9 was directed to one of the more highly featured areas of the Moon. The impact point was selected slightly northeast of the central peak of Alphonsus Crater. The last picture was taken 0.25 second before impact from an altitude of approximately 2,000 feet. The terminal resolution of approximately 1 feet bettered that of both Ranger 7 and 8.

The Future of Man, Moon, and Mars

Mankind’s return to the Moon seems inevitable. Countries such as Japan, India and China have successfully launched unmanned probes and rovers to the Moon. NASA has been planning a return to the Moon for years. Although challenging, the success of the Apollo program serves as a reminder that the Moon is achievable.

Mars is a greater challenge. The risks are many and some of the questions of extended spaceflight have not been answered. If a breakthrough propulsion system could be developed that would shorten a mission to Mars to be equivalent in length to a lunar mission, say a week to 10 days, many of the difficulties of going to Mars would go away. New technologies, such as the VASIMR ion drive, offer hope by shortening the trip to Mars to 39 days.

Like the Moon landings of Apollo, a manned mission to Mars will have an indelible impact on the future of humankind.

What You Need. to Know About. Telescopes

The Moon is an easy and bright target for the beginning, casual, and serious backyard observer. Even with the unaided eye, one can identify the major Mares (or Seas) as the large and seemingly smooth grey areas. However, details of the Moon are dif­ficult to discern with the unaided eye. The Moon is actually much smaller to the naked eye than the average person expects. Popular media and art often depict the Moon as a large celestial object taking up to as much as 20 or 30° of sky. Contrast this to the actual visual diameter of the Moon of a little over a half degree (31.4 arc-minutes). Still the Moon is an easy, large and bright target for a backyard astronomer to study.

With optical aids of either a good pair of binoculars or a good telescope, the Moon comes alive with details. A good pair of 7 x 35 or 7 x 50 binoculars can resolve some of the major craters and other major details on the Moon’s surface. The major mares, or seas can be identified.

But once the observer starts using a telescope the “OH WOW!” factor comes into play. Telescopes with apertures beginning at 60 mm and larger can produce very satisfying images of craters, mountain ranges, mares and lunar domes. And in the case of this book, a good telescope can help the reader to zoom-in on the Apollo landing sites and appreciate NASA’s great successes.

There are bookshelves full of books, and there are numerous websites on the Internet that offer advice in selecting telescopes, and telescope accessories. Many are well-written, thoughtful, and informative. Some are not. But most offer optical advice either from the well-heeled consumer with a money-is-no-object budget, or from the “best bang for the buck” viewpoint. What is often missing is the common sense approach for selecting the right telescope for the right use.

J. L. Chen, How to Find the Apollo Landing Sites,

The Patrick Moore Practical Astronomy Series, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-06456-7_2, © Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

A useful analogy in buying a telescope is looking at a parking lot of a local gro­cery store. There are a variety of cars and trucks parked there. Why? Because dif­ferent people purchase vehicles for different reasons. Soccer moms need mini-vans to haul their kids to soccer fields. Handymen need pickup trucks to haul plywood and plumbing tools. The thrill-seeker will own a high-performance sports car. And a business man will drive a prestige high priced car to show off wealth and fame.

The same process of selection also applies to telescopes. In this case, there are telescopes that are best used for deep sky objects such as nebulas, galaxies, and star clusters. There are telescopes that excel in astrophotography. And in the case of this book, there are telescopes that excel in observing the Moon and the planets of our solar system.

First-time buyers are faced with a myriad array of telescope choices, and more- often-than-not purchase the wrong telescope for their use. The wrong telescope purchase will end up in the closet gathering dust, or worst yet, in a garage sale. So here are a few basic all-encompassing guidelines in selecting telescopes for astron­omy use, especially for viewing the Moon.

• Buy your second telescope first. The common advice for years from all amateur astronomers is don’t buy a department store telescope. In today’s world that advice extends to warehouse stores and sporting goods stores. Most so-called beginners’ telescopes are plagued with poor optics, shaky telescope mounts, and in some cases poor electronics. Many of these telescopes are aimed at well – intentioned consumers that haven’t taken the time to study the telescope market, and just want a big box under the Christmas tree or at the birthday party. Grandparents especially fall into this trap. By using the term second telescope, most telescope owners who survive the trials of these beginners’ telescopes and still want to pursue the hobby naturally learn to buy a quality telescope the second time around. Save money now by being educated and buy the right equipment first.

• A smaller telescope will get used more than a larger telescope. There is a strange ailment that afflicts every backyard astronomer known as aperture fever. In this bigger-is-better society, the desire for a larger telescope that shows more detail and gathers more light is sometimes overwhelming. But there is a point where a telescope becomes so large and cumbersome to use that the usage of said tele­scope becomes less and less. A smaller and more portable, telescope with easy setup gets used more.

• The telescope mount is as important as the telescope optics. A good, solid and stable telescope mount encourages observers to use their telescope. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to focus a telescope on a weak and poorly designed mount that shakes and vibrates with a slight touch or a slight breeze.

• The right eyepieces for the right job. As with telescope designs, certain eyepiece designs are suited for wide-angle extended celestial objects such as nebulas and open star clusters, while others are intended to high contrast detailed assignments. With the cost of eyepieces ranging from $30 to over $1,000 each, a meaningful and careful selection is appropriate.

• Buy the right telescope that suits your personal skills. Some telescopes are well – suited for the technically inclined. Some telescopes are simple to use. The poten­tial first-time telescope owner needs to understand their own personal skills and acknowledge their abilities before making a telescope selection. Namely, if you can’t change a car tire, or your digital oven clock is always flashing 12 o’clock, certain astro equipment should avoided. And as with the size of the telescope, the easier the telescope is to use, the more likely it will be used.

• Consider a neutral density or polarizing filter for the telescope eyepiece. The Moon, especially when it’s full, can get uncomfortably bright. Not dangerously bright, like the Sun, just uncomfortable. An appropriate filter will tone down the glare to a comfortable level.

• Never point your telescope at the Sun unless properly equipped. This is impor­tant. Serious damage to the human eye occurs when viewing through an unfil­tered telescope. Telescope vendors sell appropriate white-light and hydrogen-alpha filters for safe viewing of the Sun. The previously mentioned neutral density or polarizing filters for the Moon do not offer enough filtering protection for the human eye for solar observing.

• Buy quality. The old adage “You get what you pay for” applies here. Telescopic images are clear and sharp. Mounts work smoothly. Focusers have a buttery smoothness that allows for fine tuning of the focus. High quality telescopes allow the observer to enjoy astronomy without problems getting in the way. In fact, there are numerous examples of quality apochromatic refractors that have appreciated in value, and sell on the used market for more than the original purchase price.

• Support your local telescope store. Believe it or not, the astronomy industry is not a big money, high profit business. With the exception of two dominant major companies, many telescope businesses, either manufacturers or stores, are Mom and Pop operations run by people who love science and astronomy. They have expertise in amateur astronomy, provide quality products, provide personalized service, and are able to perform many repairs in their own shops. The smaller telescope shops struggle to compete with high volume Internet or mail-order firms who offer little or no service and rely on manu­facturers to repair faulty equipment. Consumers need to understand the retail business. There are three criteria for competition: Quality, Service and Price. The consumer can only get two of the three. A lower price means the con­sumer sacrifices either service or quality. It is astounding to note that profit margins of major name brand telescopes are miniscule. For example, a well – known large Schmidt-Cassegrain computer controlled telescope costing over $3,000 will net a profit to a store of $100. Smaller stores rely on accessory sales, service work, and loyal customers to stay in business. Remember, at your local telescope store, there are real people (not a disembodied voice on the phone) who know astronomy, sell and support quality products, support local astronomy clubs, and can fix any problems with telescope equipment (often on the spot).

The Surveyor Series

Fig. 11.1 Surveyor on the moon. Courtesy of NASA

J. L. Chen, How to Find the Apollo Landing Sites,

The Patrick Moore Practical Astronomy Series, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-06456-7_11, © Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

NASA developed the Surveyor Program as the follow-up to the Ranger program. Ranger proved that NASA could hard crash a spacecraft into the Moon. Surveyor was NASA’s opportunity to achieve soft landings on the Moon. Additionally, NASA set scientific goals of Surveyor to gather data about the Moon’s surface, through photographs and digging scoops.

In those early days of the NASA lunar program, very little was known about the Moon’s surface. There were scientists that feared that the Moon’s surface was coated in a thick lunar dust that a lunar lander would be swallowed up and sink into the Moon’s surface. Therefore, Surveyor’s mission included experiments to test the nature of the lunar surface, including a mechanical scoop to test the firmness and granularity of the lunar soil.

As with Ranger, not all of the Surveyor missions were successful. Surveyor 2, originally targeted for Sinus Medii, or Central Bay, suffered a failure in one of its vernier rocket motors, resulting in a tumbling flight to the Moon and its crashing near the Copernicus Crater.

Surveyor 4 also crashed in its mission to Sinus Medii ( a Sinus Medii jinx?!?!). After a faultless flight to the moon, telemetry signals from the spacecraft ceased during the landing phase, about 2.5 minutes before touchdown. Contact with the spacecraft was never reestablished, and the mission failed. The engineers’ specu­lated that the solid fuel retro rocket exploded during the end of its scheduled burn.

In all, seven unmanned Surveyor lunar missions were launched between May 1966 and January 1968. Surveyor 1, 3, 5, 6, and 7 successfully accomplished a soft landing on the lunar surface. In addition to demonstrating the feasibility of lunar surface landings (and not disappearing into the moon dust!), the Surveyor missions obtained lunar photos, and gathered both scientific and technological information needed for the manned Apollo program. Four spacecraft, Surveyor 1, 3, 5, and 6, returned data from selected mare sites to support the Apollo program. Surveyor 7 provided data from a highland region.

Fig. 11.2 Finder chart. Courtesy of the author

Here again, as with sighting the Ranger impact sites, locating and viewing the Surveyor landing sites serves as extra credit to the backyard observer.

Fig. 11.3 LRO View of Surveyor 1. Photo courtesy of NASA and Arizona State University

Site Selection

All Surveyor landing sites, except for the last one, were selected primarily because they were being considered as Apollo landing sites. The landing site selected for Surveyor 1 was in the southwest part of Ocean of Storms. The spacecraft came to rest within about 15 km of the target point, on a flat surface inside a 100-km crater, one radius from the edge of a rimless 200-m crater.

Mission Description

Launch: 30 May, 1966. Landed: 2 June, 1966, 06:17:37 UT. Landing Site: Flamsteed P (2.45°S latitude, 316.79°E longitude)

Surveyor 1 was the first U. S. spacecraft to land softly on the Moon, proving a variety of new equipment and spacecraft design, and validating the technique for landing on the Moon. It returned a large quantity of scientific data during its first two days of operation on the lunar surface. Following its landing, the spacecraft transmitted 11,240 high-resolution television pictures back to NASA. Surveyor 1 completed its primary mission on July 14, 1966, after transmitting television pictures, data on the bearing strength of the regolith, temperatures, and radar reflectivity of the Moon. Subsequent engineering interrogations of the spacecraft were conducted through January 1967.

Fig. 11.4 Mission photo of Astronaut Conrad and Surveyor 3. Courtesy of NASA

Site Selection

The site selected for Surveyor 3 was in the southeast part of Ocean of Storms. The spacecraft came to rest in a subdued, rounded crater about 200 yards in diameter approximately 230 miles south of the Copernicus Crater. This site became a future landing site of an Apollo mission. As seen in Chapter 4, Apollo 12 landed within walking distance and astronauts Pete Conrad and Alan Bean visited Surveyor 3 and returned with component parts of the spacecraft for examination and study by NASA engineers.

Fig. 11.5 Mosaic taken by Surveyor 3. Courtesy of NASA

Mission Description

Launched: 17 April, 1967. Landed: 20 April, 1967, 00:04:53 UT. Landing Site: Ocean of Storms (2.94°S latitude, 336.66°E longitude).

The data from Surveyor 3 showed that it touched down on the lunar surface three times before the landing was completed. Surveyor 3’s engines did not shut down as intended. The spacecraft moved approximately 65 feet between the first and second touchdowns and about 36 feet between the second and third. The engines finally shut down prior to the third touchdown. A final translation movement of about 1 feet occurred following the third touchdown.

Like its predecessors, this mission carried a survey television camera, as well as other instrumentation for determining various properties of the lunar surface mate­rial. Additionally, it carried a surface sampler instrument for digging trenches, making bearing tests, and otherwise manipulating the lunar material in view of the television system. During its operation, which ended May 4, 1967, Surveyor 3 acquired a large volume of new data and took 6326 pictures. The surface sampler, during its 18 hours of operation, accumulated samples which yielded significant new information on the strength, texture, and structure of the lunar material to a depth of about a half a foot.

Fig. 11.6 Mosaic of Surveyor 5 photos showing the Surveyor landing strut and foot pad. Courtesy of NASA

Site Selection

The site selected for Surveyor 5 was in the southwest part of the Sea of Tranquillity. Surveyor 5 landed in a dimple-shaped, two car garage-sized rimless crater, the larg­est of a small chain of rimless craters. A backyard observer when sighting the Apollo 11 landing site will also have the Surveyor 5 site within the field of view.

Mission Description

Launch: 8 September, 1967. Landed: 11 September, 1967, 00:46:44 UT. Landing Site: Sea of Tranquility (1.41°N latitude, 23.18°E longitude).

This spacecraft was basically similar to its predecessor, except that the surface sampler was replaced by an alpha-backscatter instrument. In addition, a small bar magnet was attached to one of the footpads. Because of a critical helium regulator leak, a radically new descent profile had to be designed for the spacecraft. Surveyor 5 performed flawlessly and landed softly. Once safely on the Moon, the spacecraft functioned well and outperformed the previous missions. During its first lunar day

of operation on the Moon, 18,006 television images of exceptional quality and high scientific content were returned to Earth. On October 15, 1967, after having spent 2 weeks in the deep freeze of a lunar night, Surveyor 5 responded immediately to the first turn-on command and resumed operation, returning 1048 additional pic­tures and 22 hours of additional data.

The Surveyor 6 Mission

Fig. 11.7 Panoramic Lunar mosaic from Surveyor 6. Courtesy of NASA

Fig. 11.8 Panoramic Lunar mosaic 2 from Surveyor 6. Courtesy of NASA

Site Selection

The landing site chosen for this mission was in Sinus Medii, site of two previous Surveyor failures. The Sinus Medii curse was finally broken, with Surveyor 6 land­ing in the center of the Moon’s Earth-facing hemisphere. Surveyor 6 marked the last of four potential Apollo landing areas designated by the Surveyor program planners. The spacecraft landed on a nearly flat, heavily cratered mare area, about 200 yards northwest of the base of a ridge about 100 feet high.

Mission Description

Launch: 07 November, 1967. Landed: 10 November, 1967, 01:01:06 UT. Landing Site: Sinus Medii (0.46°N latitude, 358.63°E longitude).

The performance of Surveyor 6 on the lunar surface was virtually flawless. From touchdown until a few hours after sunset on November 24, 1967, the spacecraft transmitted 29,952 television pictures and the alpha-scattering instrument acquired 30 hours of data on the chemical composition of the lunar material.

As part of the surface mechanical properties investigation, Surveyor 6 performed a “hop” maneuver, moving 2.5 m away from its original landing area. This maneu­ver provided excellent views of the surface disturbances produced by the initial landing and the effects of firing rocket engines close to the lunar surface. Photography obtained after the hop contributed to the soil mechanics investigation.

On November 26, 1967, the spacecraft was placed in hibernation for the two – week lunar night. Contact with the spacecraft was resumed for a short period on December 14, 1967.

The Surveyor 7 Mission

Fig. 11.9 Panoramic Lunar mosaic from Surveyor 7. Courtesy of NASA

Site Selection

Surveyor 7 was the only unmanned pre-Apollo landing mission sent to an area for mainly scientific reasons. All of the previous Surveyor missions were targeted for safe mare regions. The Surveyor 7 site selection was for a highland region with a rugged, rock-strewn ejecta blanket near Tycho Crater. The spacecraft landed less than 1.5 miles from the center of the target circle, about 18 miles north of the rim of Tycho. The backyard astronomer needs merely to sight the Tycho Crater and view the north rim to view the Surveyor 7 landing site.

Mission Description

Launch: 07 January 1968. Landed: 10 January 1968, 01:05:36 UT. Landing Site: Tycho Crater North Rim (41.01°S latitude, 348.59°E longitude).

Despite the more hazardous terrain in the landing area, Surveyor 7 landed without incident. 20,993 television pictures were obtained during the first lunar day.

An additional 45 pictures were obtained during the second lunar day. The alpha­scattering instrument failed to fully deploy on its own, so the surface sampler was used to place the instrument on the surface, and enabling the device to function. The surface sampler moved the alpha-scattering instrument to two other locations for more data gathering. In addition to acquiring a wide variety of lunar surface data, Surveyor 7 also obtained pictures of Earth and performed star surveys. Laser beams from Earth were successfully detected by the television camera in a special test of laser-pointing techniques, as a proof-of-concept prelude to the Apollo LRRR experiment.

Post-sunset operations were conducted for 15 hours after local sunset at the end of the first lunar day. During these operations, additional Earth and star pictures were obtained, as were observations of the solar corona. Operation of the spacecraft was terminated 80 hours after sunset. The spacecraft was reactivated for the second lunar day on February 12, 1968, and operated until February 21, 1968.

Abbreviations and Acronyms

Those of us who have spent our careers in Government and military service are familiar with the term “Alphabet Soup”. The U. S. Government, the U. S. Armed Services, and in the case of the lead government agency of U. S. space exploration NASA (yes, an abbreviation. See.. .Alphabet Soup!) all use shortened abbreviations and acronyms to simplify and manage ideas, concepts, and equipment. In technical fields, abbreviations and acronyms work well as vocabulary shorthand.

But, in highly complex programs such as Apollo, the sea of acronyms created is blindingly confusing and complex to an outsider. This book, like many NASA- related books that have preceded it, contains many examples of NASA’s alphabet soup. An effort was made to minimize the use of NASA’s shorthand, but inevitably it cannot be avoided. Hence, this list is provided to the reader as a reference.

ALSEP Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package ASE Active Seismic Experiment

CM Command Module

CPLEE Charged Particle Lunar Environment Experiment

CCGE Cold Cathode Gauge Experiment

CCIG Cold Cathode Ion Gauge

CSM Command/Service Module

EASEP Early Apollo Surface Experiments Package

FTT Fuel Transfer Tool

HFE Heat Flow Experiment

LACE Lunar Atmosphere Composition Experiment

LEAM Lunar Ejecta and Meteorites Experiment

LM Lunar Module (earlier known as the LEM for Lunar Excursion Module)

LRO Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

LRV Lunar Roving Vehicle “Lunar Rover”

LRRR Laser Ranging Retroreflector

LSPE Lunar Seismic Profiling Experiment

LSG Lunar Surface Gravimeter

LSM Lunar Surface Magnetometer

MESA Modularized Equipment Stowage Assembly (Lunar Module trunk)

MET Modularized Equipment Transporter

PLSS Portable Life Support System (high-tech backpack)

PSE Passive Seismic Experiment

PSEP Passive Seismic Experiment Package

RTG Radioisotope Generator

SEP Surface Electrical Properties experiment

SM Service Module

SWS Solar Wind Spectrometer Experiment

SIDE Supra-thermal Ion Detector Experiment

The Telescopes

The Telescopes

Fig. 2.1 Group photo of the author’s collection of telescopes. Courtesy of the author

The world of astronomy is inhabited by a menagerie of telescopes. There are short – focus and long-focus refractors, Dobsonian reflectors, Schmidt – or Maksutov – Cassegrains, Newtonian reflectors, GOTO telescopes, achromats, apochromats,… the list goes on and on. There are telescopes of every size and for every budget. Some with manual altitude-azimuth mounts, some with German equatorial mounts, and some with very sophisticated electronic GOTO mountings. It’s no wonder that a person new to astronomy gets confused and intimidated.

The following discussions on telescope types demands a definition of focal ratio, or f/ratio. Quite simply, the f/ratio is the focal length of the telescope divided by the diameter of the main lens or mirror. The smaller the f/ratio, the lower the magnifica­tion and the wider the field of view with any specific eyepiece. Higher magnifica­tion is easily attained with a higher the f/ratio, but with the cost of a smaller field of view.

In order to simplify the world view of amateur astronomy, it is best to organize telescopes into the three basic categories: refractors, reflectors, and catadioptrics.