Before going to the Moon, the Apollo astronauts trained at various sites on Earth that best approximated the lunar surface, such as the volcanic regions Iceland and Hawaii and deserts in the US Southwest. To help prepare for upcoming robotic and human Artemis missions, a newly upgraded “mini-Moon” lunar testbed will allow astronauts and robots to test out realistic conditions on the Moon including rough terrain and unusual sunlight.Continue reading “NASA has Simulated a Tiny Part of the Moon Here on Earth”
Remembering the Gutsy and Hilarious Apollo Astronaut Jim McDivitt
Former NASA astronaut Jim McDivitt, who commanded the important Gemini IV and Apollo 9 missions – both crucial for NASA’s ability to reach the Moon — has died at age 93. His family said he passed away peacefully in his sleep on October 13, 2022.Continue reading “Remembering the Gutsy and Hilarious Apollo Astronaut Jim McDivitt”
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Remembering NASA Engineer Jerry Woodfill, the Inspiration Behind “13 Things That Saved Apollo 13”
Jerry Woodfill, an engineer who worked diligently behind the scenes during NASA’s Apollo program, has passed away at age 79. Jerry was still employed by the Johnson Space Center (JSC) at the time of his death, working there for over 57 years. Most notably, Jerry worked as the lead engineer behind the Caution and Warning System on the Apollo spacecraft, which alerted astronauts to issues such as Apollo 11’s computer problems during the first Moon landing, and the explosion of Apollo 13’s oxygen tanks.
While continuing his work as an engineer at JSC, Jerry’s infectious enthusiasm for spaceflight led him to also be part of NASA’s public and educational outreach, where he spearheaded programs for children, teachers and adults about science and space flight. He routinely gave over 40 lectures a year, both in person and online to listeners around the world. His unique sense of humor and sometimes unabashed showmanship could hold even the shortest of young attention spans. Jerry usually had his audiences either in stitches or fully captivated by his stories.Continue reading “Remembering NASA Engineer Jerry Woodfill, the Inspiration Behind “13 Things That Saved Apollo 13””
Remembering NASA Flight Director Glynn Lunney, 1936-2021
Legendary NASA flight director Glynn Lunney has passed away at age 84. Lunney played a key role in the early days of NASA, helping to create the concept and operation of what we now reverently know as Mission Control. His calm decisiveness was lauded during the Gemini and Apollo missions he guided as flight director, and his leadership was especially pivotal in bringing the crew of Apollo 13 safely back to Earth.Continue reading “Remembering NASA Flight Director Glynn Lunney, 1936-2021”
Is There An Apollo 14 Moon Tree Near You?
50 years ago this week, the Apollo 14 crew flew their mission to the Moon. Alan Shepard and Edgar Mitchell were the third pair of astronauts to walk on the lunar surface. They conducted two moonwalks in the Fra Mauro highlands, collecting rocks and setting up science experiments, as well as broadcasting the first color TV images from the Moon.
Meanwhile, Stuart Roosa remained in orbit as the Command Module pilot. But Roosa wasn’t alone while circling above the Moon.Continue reading “Is There An Apollo 14 Moon Tree Near You?”
What the Astronauts Saw as They Orbited the Moon During Apollo 17
This view always gets me *right there.* But this new version really gets me.
This is what Apollo 17 astronauts saw in December of 1972 as they came around the farside of the Moon: the blue and white crescent Earth rising above the stark lunar horizon. And now image editing guru Kevin Gill has sharpened the image, giving it more texture, color and contrast. I can imagine this sharp, spectacular view must be close to what the astronauts saw with their own eyes.
“There I was, and there you are, the Earth – dynamic, overwhelming…” said Apollo 17 astronaut Gene Cernan.Continue reading “What the Astronauts Saw as They Orbited the Moon During Apollo 17”
Remembering Don Arabian, the ‘Mad Genius’ Behind NASA’s Apollo Engineering Team
One of the truly unsung heroes of the Apollo program has passed away at age 95. Donald D. Arabian, Chief of the Apollo Test Division, headed the Mission Evaluation Room (MER), which was responsible for solving in-flight problems during the Apollo missions to the Moon.
His nickname was “Mad Don,” and anyone who had the privilege of meeting him or working with him described Arabian as “one of a kind,” “colorful,” and “completely and totally unforgettable.” But in the book “Apollo: Race to the Moon” authors Charles Murray and Catherine Bly Cox designated Arabian as one of four people responsible for the success of the Apollo Program.Continue reading “Remembering Don Arabian, the ‘Mad Genius’ Behind NASA’s Apollo Engineering Team”
AI Upscales Apollo Lunar Footage to 60 FPS
As exciting and thrilling as it is to watch all the historic footage from the Apollo Moon landings, you have to admit, the quality is sometimes not all that great. Even though NASA has worked on restoring and enhancing some of the most popular Apollo footage, some of it is still grainy or blurry — which is indicative of the video technology available in the 1960s.
But now, new developments in artificial intelligence have come to the rescue, providing viewers a nearly brand new experience in watching historic Apollo video.
A photo and film restoration specialist, who goes by the name of DutchSteamMachine, has worked some AI magic to enhance original Apollo film, creating strikingly clear and vivid video clips and images.Continue reading “AI Upscales Apollo Lunar Footage to 60 FPS”
Hilarious Supercut of Astronauts Falling on the Moon
The Apollo astronauts walked on the Moon, yes. But they also hopped, bounded, and shuffled. And sometimes they fell, spectacularly. That caused a lot of consternation back on the Earth, especially for the engineers who designed the Apollo spacesuits.Continue reading “Hilarious Supercut of Astronauts Falling on the Moon”
Even More Things That Saved Apollo 13: The Nail-biting Re-entry Sequence
50 years ago today, on April 17, 1970, the crew of Apollo 13 came home. Safely. Successfully.
The world breathed a collective sigh of relief as they watched NASA turn a disaster into one of the most dramatic happy-endings ever.
The flight of Apollo 13 was unlike any other Apollo mission, and the final hours of the flight – preparing for and implementing the reentry to Earth – was unlike any other, as well.Continue reading “Even More Things That Saved Apollo 13: The Nail-biting Re-entry Sequence”