The Final Apollo Mission – December 7, 1972

The Final Apollo Mission – December 7, 1972

Apollo 17 Liftoff - December 7, 1942

Apollo 17 Liftoff – December 7, 1942

On December 7, 1972 (41 years ago today) the final manned mission to the moon blasted off from Kennedy Space Center.  Eugene Cernan was the last person to walk on the moon on December 14, 1972 at roughly 05:40 GMT. It is ultimately hard to believe that its been 41 years and we’ve not had a manned mission to Mars yet.  Even more astounding is the fact is that at this time we are between the Space Shuttle and its replacement, so we have no currently operational mode of launching humans into space.  The Orion capsule is currently under development and approaching ETF-1 (Exploration Flight Test-1), but that is scheduled for late 2014.

I got interested in the total time spent on the surface (just EVA’s for the Apollo missions) of of the Moon, you can find the figures on the table below.  You can tell by the figures when the Apollo missions started using the lunar rover.  I’ve also included drive distance of NASA’s Mars rovers.

Mission Surface EVA Surface Distance Covered
Apollo 11 2:31:40 Negligible
Apollo 12 7:45:18 2.0 km (1.2 mi)
Apollo 14 9:22:31 3.3 km (2.1 mi)
Apollo 15 19:07:53 27.9 km (17.3 mi)
Apollo 16 20:14:14 26.7 km (16.6 mi)
Apollo 17 22:03:57 35.74 km (22.21 mi)
Sojourner 100 m (330 ft)
Spirit 7.73 km (4.8 mi)
Opportunity 38.70 km (24.05 mi) – Ongoing
Curiosity 1 km (0.6 mi)+ – Ongoing

I leave you with this entry in the Sagan Series titled the “Gift of Apollo.”





Posted by Chad Dotson in Misc, Ramblings, Technology, 0 comments

ISS Flyover August 28, 2012

These pictures were taken during a flyover of the International Space Station on August 28, 2012.  The one lesson learned from this set is that next time I want to take a series and stack them together for a picture that has the space station crossing the whole sky.

Posted by Chad Dotson in Photography, Space, 0 comments

Curiosity – Complete Decent Video In HD

Curiosity Landing - Sky Crane Stage

Artists rendering of Curiosity landing on mars with the sky crane.

A new, enhanced version of Curiosity decent video has been created.  The original NASA release was only thumbnails.  This video is available in up to 1080p and it looks amazing.

Here are some links for more information on Curiosity:





Posted by Chad Dotson in Space, 0 comments

The Last Shuttle Launch and The Future

Atlantis on the pad 39A

Atlantis on the pad 39A for its final flight.

End of an Era
Yesterday (July 8, 2011), we witnessed what will likely be the last launch of the Space Shuttle.  Of the three operational shuttles NASA had remaining, Atlantis was the second oldest.  Atlantis’s first flight took place in October 1985.

This final flight of Atlantis signals the end of an era in more ways than one.  The shuttle program is a spectacle.  While I’ve never seen one launch in person, I’m sure the TV does not do it justice.

NASA and The Future:
Its my belief that budget cuts will win out and eventually we will be mostly out of the Human space exploration business.  With Orion and Constellation cancelled, the next vehicle planned is the MPCV (Multi-purpose Crew Vehicle).  The advantage of the MPCV over Orion is its 21-day mission capability.  I’m not sure who labeled this as “Deep Space” but someone did.  I guess NASA is taking the approach of component space travel.  The MPCV would be a component of a larger spacecraft for say an asteriod or Mars trip.  My major complaint is the common one,  it seems as if we are taking a step backwards in our designs of exploration vehicles.

Stagnated Exploration
Think about it, it took us under a decade to reach the moon.  After just a few visits, we never went back, our deeper exploration stagnated.  Humans have the desire to go some place for themselves, not just sending robots.  Seeing a human walking on another planet generates more interest than robots.  Humans also are vastly more capable than a robot.  Humans are able to adapt to changing situations and circumstances that a robot may not be able to.  Also Humans can think and change analytical approaches if the need arises.

The Political Speil
It is also my belief that a good “Economic Stimulus” would be to reengage the public in the allure of space travel.  Wouldn’t the Math, Science, and Engineering jobs created and maintained by the funding of the US human exploration of space be better than some of the other less technical jobs “created.”  Funding to “create jobs” comes from somewhere, one of those places is pulling budget dollars from agencies such as NASA.  Also, studies show that we are falling behind in Math and Science…  How can we hope to improve when one of the biggest math and science sources is underfunded.


Posted by Chad Dotson in Misc, Technology, 0 comments

Orion Launch Abort System Test

I found this video of the successful test of the Orion Launch Abort System that was carried out today.

Posted by Chad Dotson in Technology, 0 comments

Atlas V Sonic Boom vs Sun Dog

This video was taken February 11, 2010 at the launch of the Solar Dynamics Observatory aboard an Atlas V rocket at Kennedy Space Center.  Notice what happens when the rocket entires the vapor layer containing the Sun Dog about 1:53 in.

Posted by Chad Dotson in Misc, 0 comments

NASA Ares I Test Footage

Check out this footage from the recent NASA Ares I Test.

Posted by Chad Dotson in Misc, Technology, 0 comments