Jim Scotti's Apollo page

In Memorium: Charles "Pete" Conrad, 1930-1999

Where on the Moon is Jack Schmitt's Hammer?

While watching Apollo 17 video tapes, I saw Harrison H. "Jack" Schmitt toss his hammer off into the distance. Recently while browsing the Apollo Lunar Surface Journal I happened across some B&W images taken by Gene Cernan at the end of the last EVA and what did I see in one of those images up in the pitch black sky? A small streaky image that looked like it might be the hammer in flight. So, I examined some prints in the Lunar and Planetary Lab's Space Imagery Center and sure enough, it is the hammer which can be seen in two consecutive images (end on in the 2nd) and in a 3rd, I found the plume of dust from the hammer's impact! Curiosity led me to dig up some images taken from inside the LM after the EVA and sure enough, with the help of the plume image telling me where to look, I found several images which show the hammer lying out on the lunar surface! Go see the images.

Were the Moon landings faked?

There are a number of individuals who believe that the Apollo moon landings were faked by NASA and the U.S. government. Several websites expound this notion and even analyze images to attempt to make their case. See my critique of one of these pages.

Apollo Images.

Anaglyphs (get out your red and blue 3D glasses - surely you've got the Pathfinder/Titanic issue of National Geographic! To order a pair of 3D glasses for viewing anaglyphs, visit Stereoscopy.com.)

The following 3D images were made from a pair of images obtained by the Apollo 17 astronauts in December 1972. The specific images used here are AS17 139-21287 and 139-21288. Apollo 15 and Apollo 17 were the only flights that came close enough to get long distance oblique views of the most prominant rayed crater on the Moon. Copernicus is a 95 kilometer diameter crater formed by the impact of an object about 10 kilometers in diameter about 1 billion years ago.

Full resolution 3-D image of Copernicus.

Central region of Copernicus.

Low resolution 3-D image of Copernicus.

This anaglyph was composed by combining images AS12-48-7099 and AS12-48-7100. The images were taken by the Apollo 12 crew as they approached the Surveyor III spacecraft. The 3D affect is rather subtle, as the photographer (Bean?) walked towards the Spacecraft with very little translation.

Big version Medium sized version

During the second EVA of the Apollo 14 mission to the Fra Mauro highlands, astronauts Alan Shepard and Edgar Mitchell climbed the flanks of Cone crater about 340 meters in diameter and some 80 meters above their Lunar Module, parked some 1.2 kilometers to the southwest. During a frustrating and tiring climb, they were unable to locate the rim of the crater, leading to great disappointment, though they did manage to sample a boulder field near the rim which scientifically was just as good as getting to the rim of the crater. So how could they have ended up within about 30 meters of the rim without knowing it? These 2 anaglyphs are derived from a panorama taken by Alan Shepard at station C', abut 70 meters from the rim of the crater. They are looking in the general direction of the crater rim. Station C1 is about 40 meters in this direction, amongst the clump of boulders in the medium distance and was the closest that Shepard and Mitchell got to the rim. The LM is 1.2 km away about 90 degrees of azimuth towards the left. Images AS14-64-9101, 9102, and 9103 where used to construct these two anaglyphs.

From AS14-64-9101/9102: Big version Medium sized version

From AS14-64-9102/9103: Big version Medium sized version

The following anaglyph is from the Apollo 16 mission. The rover appears at the top of this section combining AS16-107-17445 and AS16-107-17446 taken by John Young. Visible in the foreground is the Gnomon which was used to provide the local vertical and a color strip for later photographic calibration. The surface appears very uneven in this stereo view and the rocks stand out nicely as well, particularly the rock at left. BTW, AS16-107-17446 is a favorite of the TMLWF (The Moon Landing Was Faked) crowd and they cite problems with reseau marks on this image, shadow directions and even a "C" which appears on the rock at left in some versions (which is clearly dust introduced at some point in the processing of the image for publication). The hoax proponents do not take into account perspective issues or the unevenness of lunar terrain in their arguments regarding shadow direction and lengths. This stereo view should help the viewer see how shadows are affected by the terrain. Ignore astronaut Charlie Duke in the anaglyph, as he moved between the exposure of the two images, resulting in the ghostly red and blue images at top left.

From AS16-107-17445/17446:

Amongst the interesting features seen from the relative closeness of lunar orbit and considered as a possible Apollo landing site was the Davy crater chain which may be the remnant of a Shoemaker-Levy 9 type of impact event. Apollo 14 astronaut Stu Roosa, the lonely 3rd member of the crew who stayed in orbit while his comrades landed on the moon, took a set of images of this interesting area which I have used to construct the following Anaglyph. Images AS14-73-10101 and 10102 were used to make the following images:

Big version Medium sized version

Other images

AS17 134-20510 (This image was used by me to create We're On our way, Houston!)

Lunar artwork

We're On our way, Houston!

Going Home - Apollo 17

Some Apollo books:

  • A Man on the Moon by Andrew Chaikin. This is an excellent book used as the basis for From the Earth to the Moon, the HBO mini-series on Apollo - it even got Andy Chaikin a mention at the Emmy's by Tom Hanks! It approaches Apollo from the astronauts point of view. (*****)
  • A Man on the Moon - Illustrated 3 volume set by Andrew Chaikin. This reworked version of Andy's original book contains lots of excellent and rare photographs as well as all the outstanding original text (see my previous review). An excellent excuse to re-read this great book. (*****)
  • To a Rocky Moon by Don Wilhelms. This book tells the story of Apollo from the Geologists point of view, starting with the earliest studies of the moon to the arguments between the cold and hot moon camps during site selection for the Apollo Lunar landings. (*****)
  • For all Mankind by Harry Hurt III. This book approaches Apollo from the astronauts point of view. Although it tells some interesting stories, Hurt appears to lack a fundemental understanding of physics with clearly errant statements and often skews the facts in favor of his opinion on an event. These errors throw doubt on an otherwise interesting take on Apollo. After reading part of the book, I grabbed a pen and started making notes in the margins about all the errors and unsubstantiated opinions I found in this book. (**)
  • The Apollo Expeditions to the Moon This book is a good overview of Apollo with plenty of illustrations. (****)
  • "Chariots for Apollo: A History of Manned Lunar Spacecraft" NASA SP-4205. This book describes the development of the Apollo hardware which took 12 astronauts to the surface of the Moon. Not to be confused with the Pellegrino and Stoff book (see below). (*****)
  • Chariots for Apollo. The Untold Story Behind the Race to the Moon by Charles Pellegrino and Joshua Stoff (1985, Authors Notes and Afterword, 1999). This book tells Grumman's story of the building and flying of the Lunar Module which landed the first humans on the Lunar surface between 1969 and 1972. The book is written using many personal interviews with those involved, an important document to tell their story first hand. (****)
  • Apollo: The Race to the Moon by Charles Murray and Catherine Bly Cox (1989). This exellent book tells the story of how NASA came to be and how it managed to complete Kennedy's challenge of landing a man on the Moon within the decade of the 1960s. It follows the story from the view of those involved in making it happen in the NASA ranks (short of the astronauts themselves). If you want to know about the flight controllers or about those charged with creating the launch facilities or how the Space Task Group grew out of Langley, then this is the book for you. (*****)
  • Full Moon by Michael Light, with an essay by Andrew Chaikin (1999). This excellent collection of carefully processed images from the era of the Apollo program is simply spectacular. Most images are from the 70mm Hasselblad images taken by the astronauts themselves, during all parts of their flights. The images progress through the chronology of a mission to the Moon, starting with launch and ending with their return to Earth. In the middle are the spectacular fruits of their photographic work, including images of the Earth, of fellow crewmembers, of the spacecraft, of the lunar surface both from orbit and from the surface itself. The images were scanned by the author and digitally manipulated to bring out the best in the images. (*****)
  • Exploring the Moon: The Apollo Expeditions by David M. Harland (1999). This book focuses on the actual exploration of the lunar surface by the Apollo astronauts, dwelling on the J-class missions of Apollos 15, 16 and 17 since they did the lions share of geologic explorations. The book is laced with many black and white images including many reconstructed panoramas. If only they were reproduced at a larger scale. (*****)
  • Moon Lander by Thomas J. Kelly (2001). This book is subtitled How we developed the Apollo Lunar Module and who better to write such a book, but Grumman engineer and designer of the LM, Tom Kelly. An excellent book and a must have for those collecting Apollo historical literature. The reading is a little on the dry side (Kelly does not have a ghost writer or co-author, so some of the polish found in other Apollo histories that comes from a professional writer is missing - but that's not such a bad thing) and is occasionally repetative, but it contains a valuable amount of details about developing, building and flying the LM. I wish it went into even more detail, though, and some of the later chapters on the actual flights are brief and with little details about the engineering support of the flight LM's. Worse, these chapters contain a number of factual errors that I would have expected Kelly to know as well as anyone. It is well documented with lots of references. (****)
  • Virtual Apollo by Scott P. Sullivan - Review coming soon.

  • Virtual LM by Scott P. Sullivan - Review coming soon.

  • Saturn by Alan Lawrie - Review coming soon.

  • Apollo: The Definitive Sourcebook by Richard W. Orloff and David M. Harland - Review coming soon.

  • Return to the Moon by Harrison H. Schmitt - Review coming soon.

  • Astronaut autobiographies and biographies:

  • APOLLO: An eyewitness account by Artist/Astronaut/Moonwalker by Alan Bean and Andrew Chaikin (1998). Alan Bean has more than made up for pointing the Apollo 12 surface TV camera at the sun early in his first moonwalk. He has documented the experience of the Apollo Astronauts on the moon with some fantastic artwork. Combined with excellent text by Andy Chaikin (See A Man on the Moon below), this is a truly outstanding book. (*****)
  • The Last Man on the Moon by Gene Cernan and Don Davis (1999). Gene Cernan is one of 3 astronauts who flew to the moon twice, first as Lunar Module pilot on Apollo 10 which was the dress rehearsal for Apollo 11, flying the LM in lunar orbit down to less than 50,000 feet from the lunar surface. His second lunar flight was as Commander of Apollo 17, the most scientifically ambitious and successful Apollo expedition. This wonderful book tells Cernan's story from childhood to Naval aviator to astronaut - an excellent read and amongst the best of the astronaut autobiographies. (*****)
  • Lost Moon: The perilous voyage of Apollo 13 by Jim Lovell and Jeffrey Kluger (1994). Also known as Apollo 13 and has been re-released in a new edition in 2001. Jim Lovell flew in space 4 times and by the time of the Apollo 13 flight, was America's most experienced astronaut having already flown to the moon on board the first lunar voyage, Apollo 8. Apollo 13 was planned to land in the highlands of Fra Mauro, but an explosion in an oxygen tank 200,000 miles from Earth turned the flight into a fight for survival. This excellent book tells Lovell's view of the story of Apollo 13 and was later made into the outstanding movie, Apollo 13 starring Tom Hanks as Jim Lovell and directed by Ron Howard. (*****)
  • Deke! An Autobiography by Deke Slayton and Michael Cassutt (1994). This excellent account of Deke Slaytons life not only presents his intriguing background and post astronaut career but provides important and fascinating clues to his sometimes mysterious methods of choosing crewmembers for spaceflights from Gemini through Apollo. (*****)
  • Moon Shot: The inside story of America's race to the Moon by Alan Shepard and Deke Slayton (1994). Ghost written by Jay Barbree and Howard Benedict, it is clear from the relatively large quantity of errors that this book was not very carefully reviewed by either Shepard or Slayton before publication. There are some interesting angles and stories which makes the book worth a read, however. Use caution when quoting it's "facts". (**)
  • Men From Earth by Buzz Aldrin and Malcolm McConnell (1989). The story of Buzz Aldrin's life after his return from the Moon and how he turned things around. (***)
  • Carrying the Fire; an Astronaut's journeys by Michael Collins (1974). This early Astronaut autobiography by the command module pilot of the historic Apollo 11 flight is an excellent read and very authoritative. His story about his thoughts on the Command Module abort handle prior to the Apollo 11 liftoff will leave you in stitches. This may be the best of the Apollo Astronaut autobiographies. (*****)
  • Schirra's Space by Wally Schirra and Richard Billings (1988). (***)
  • The All American Boys by Walter Cunningham and Mickey Herskowitz (1977). This autobiography details the career of Apollo Astronaut Walter Cunningham who flew on Apollo 7 with Wally Schirra and Donn Eisele in October of 1968. The book gives Cunningham's personal views of his fellow Astronauts as well as a summary of his aerospace career through the time of its writing. (*****)
  • The Way of the Explorer by Edgar Mitchell with Dwight Williams (1996). As an astronaut autobiography, this book fails miserably. Mitchell provides little depth to his experiences as an astronaut, glossing over what should be extremely fascinating events in order to get to his goal for this book - his investigations into the human mind. I found the book difficult to read and not very entertaining. And his views of the paranormal and psychic phenomenon show little critical thinking on his part. He's swallowed quickly and fully by charlatans like Uri Geller. Even his description of what I find to be one of the most embarrassing events of the Lunar exploration program (his attempts at ESP experimentation during the flight of Apollo 14) are dull and uninteresting. The final two-thirds of the book are riddled with the usual pseudoscientific mumbo-jumboisms of the field of his post-Apollo career. I couldn't even bring myself to finish reading this book. It was a chore to get as far as I did. (*)
  • Two Sides of the Moon by David R. Scott and Alexi Leonov. Review coming soon.

  • Rocket Man by Nancy Conrad, Howard A. Klausner (2005). Review coming soon - the biography of Pete Conrad.

  • First Man by James R. Hansen (2005). Review coming soon - the biography of Neil Armstrong.

    Apollo Movies and Documentaries

  • Spacecraft Films This series of DVDs produced by Mark Grey compiles film and TV recordings from the Apollo missions as well as Gemini and the Saturn rockets. Films of the assembly and roll out of the Saturn V can be found, as well as suiting up and boarding the spacecraft. Launch films from many different camera angles which can be selected on the fly with audio from the launch are available. The Apollo 11 set shows the landing film shot from the right hand window of the LM and includes multiple audio tracks including air to ground, and the flight directors loop and others. During the moonwalk, the TV footage and window mounted 1 frame per second film of the moonwalks can be viewed separately and a video channel that includes both as well as the photographs as they were taken appear. Again, different audio channels are available including the air to ground loop and the post-flight debriefing commentary. Each set is about $49.95 and there are sets available or planned for each mission. This is a must have for the Apollo enthusiast. (*****)

  • Moon Shot (1995). Based on the book by the same name, this 2 part documentary (4 hours) aired originally on TBS in 1995. It covers the American space program from its beginnings and the selection of the Mercury Astronauts through the Lunar landings and Deke Slayton's Apollo-Soyuz flight. It features many interviews with Astronauts. It is somewhat biographical, using the voice of Barry Corbin as Deke Slayton (who unfortunately passed away during the filming), it follows the career of Deke with interviews by his Astronaut colleagues. (*****)
  • To the Moon (1999). This 2 hour NOVA documentary aired for the 30th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moonlanding. Similar to Moonshot, though shorter in length and with more recent interviews, it gives excellent coverage of the United States efforts to put a man on the moon. Originally aired on July 13, 1999, it includes the nice touch of a dedication at the end to Pete Conrad, who passed away just 5 days earlier. (*****)
  • Apollo 13 (1995). This movie was directed by Ron Howard and starred Tom Hanks as mission commander James Lovell, based on Lovell's book Lost Moon (aka Apollo 13) This movie tells the story of the flight of Apollo 13 and follows the actual story very closely. Extreme regard for detail and accuracy by the film crew makes this movie stand out as the flight details, spacecraft, and mission control are faithfully reproduced. Use of the "Vomit Comet" - the aircraft used to fly parabolic trajectories giving occupants 30 seconds of zero-G at a time - in filming makes the scenes aboard the spacecraft look and feel very real. (*****)
  • From the Earth to the Moon (1998 - miniseries). Using Apollo 13 as a springboard, Tom Hanks took the next logical step and produced this 12 part mini-series for HBO on the entire Apollo program. Hanks commits the film crew to stick to the historical details and produces a generally outstanding series of films. My favorite episodes (in airing order) included Apollo 1 which deals with the tragedy of the Apollo 1 fire and its aftermath; Spider which follows the design and developement of the Lunar Module through its first manned flight on Apollo 9; Is that all there is? the experiences of Al Bean on the flight of Apollo 12; Galileo was Right which covers not only Apollo 15, but the geologic training of the Apollo Astronauts, especially for this flight; and La Voyage Dans La Lune which summarizes the Apollo program while covering the flight of Apollo 17. My least favorite episode in this series was We Interrupt this Program which details the media interraction with the nearly fatal flight of Apollo 13.

    From the Earth to the Moon, Signature Edition (re-released 2005). A widescreen (16:9 format) version with some changes was re-released in 2005. The episodes are presented 3 to a disc over 4 discs (it originally had 4 episodes per disc plus the extra material on a 4th disc), plus a 5th disc containes extra material. (*****)

  • In the Mountains of the Moon (1971?). This NASA film on the Apollo 15 spaceflight is perhaps the best of the NASA films on the Apollo program. It details the flight, and in particular the scientific investigations carried out by the crew and it's many supporting scientists and engineers during its expedition to the Hadley Appenine landing site. (*****)
  • Spacecraft Films DVDs (ongoing). These DVD sets include Gemini, The Mighty Saturns, Apollo 8, Apollo 11 and ultimately sets for all the missions. The DVDs include a collection of a wealth of film and video footage from the missions including pad camera footage, tracking shots, onboard TV transmissions - many of the clips have never been seen before by the public or have not been seen since the time of the flight. (*****)

  • Some Apollo links:

  • Apollo Lunar Surface Journal This site contains not only annotated transcripts from each of the moonwalks, but a library of the lunar surface imagery, audio files, video, scans of checklists, maps and a great deal more. This is perhaps the best site on the web (and now available on CD!) for the Apollo enthusiast.
  • The Apollo Saturn Reference Page This site contains everything you'd ever want to know about the Saturn launch vehicles as well as the Apollo Spacecraft and the launch complexes. The information is geared towards the space modeller.
  • A Field Guide to American Spacecraft Where are the Spacecraft flown by our Astronauts? This web site tells you where they are located. Not only manned vehicles but boilerplates, models and so on.
  • Chariots for Apollo: A History of Manned Lunar Spacecraft This web document is from the book of the same name (NASA SP-4205). This is a great source of information about how the Apollo spacecraft was designed and built, from the earliest concepts through the first moon landing.
  • Lunar Module, Spacecraft Assembly & Test, Grumman Bethpage NY This site contains a wealth of inside information about the only spacecraft to land humans on another world - the Apollo Lunar Module.
  • Apollo Landing Sites Where did the Apollo missions land? Dan Durda created this site which allows you to zoom in on each of the landing sites, from the general setting to the actual site of the landings.
  • NASA History Home Page NASA's history office web site.
  • The "Contact Light" Project Apollo Archive This site created and maintained by Kipp Teague contains his personal memories of Apollo as well as a great collection of Apollo imagery and multimedia.
  • Apollo 15 Flight Journal The Apollo 15 Flight Journal does for the rest of the Apollo 15 flight what the Apollo Lunar Surface Journal (ALSJ) does for the Apollo 15 lunar exploration. Hopefully future versions will include the other Apollo missions.
  • Apollo Press Kits The Apollo Press Kits have been scanned into PDF format and are all available on this site. An excellent source information on each of the missions.
  • Space Suits online If you want to find out more about space suits, this is the place. The site includes descriptions of suit hardware as well as photos and locations of suits that are on display at various museums.
  • Apollo Image Atlas
  • Consolidated Lunar Atlas
  • Lunar Orbiter
  • Moon Trees Apollo 14 astronaut Stuart Roosa carried tree seeds on his flight as Command Module Pilot which were later planted and grown. This website is dedicated to finding the lost Moon Trees and their progeny.
  • The Apollo Experience Do you long to fly in space and to the Moon? This site advertizes an Apollo based simulation of just that.

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