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  Planning the Apollo lunar surface EVAs

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Author Topic:   Planning the Apollo lunar surface EVAs
rasorenson
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Posts: 78
From: Santa Clara, CA, USA
Registered: Nov 2009

posted 03-26-2012 12:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for rasorenson   Click Here to Email rasorenson     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I want to find information about the planning that went into design of each Apollo lunar surface EVA. I know contingency routes were created should the LM land away from the target site. I have not found information about who planned the EVAs and chose the station sites and objectives driving those choices. Can anyone point me in the right direction? Thanks.

Cunumdrum61
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Posts: 38
From: Australia
Registered: Jan 2012

posted 03-26-2012 02:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Cunumdrum61     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sorry cannot really help you but I think a letter to NASA at Houston would provide you with more information. Here is some info that I have on file but you may already know all this. Harrison Schmitt was the leading geologist at NASA and he had a lot of say in the later missions of where would be the best sites to investigate. Excerpt from the Macmillan Reference USA Science Library:
Apollo Lunar Landing Sites

The specific locations of the first two Apollo landing sites were selected mainly for reasons related to safety and orbital timing and partly for political reasons. In later missions, scientific objectives became an increasingly important factor. Harrison Schmitt had input into the later landing sites as he was the leading geologist at NASA. The Apollo landing sites were located relatively near the equator within what was known as the "Apollo Zone." This area had been studied extensively with telescopic images, and a near-equatorial landing would be most favorable for return-to-Earth trajectories. Landings had to be made during the lunar day on the near side in a way that would be favorable for the particular launch and orbital configuration and that would allow alternate site selection in the event of a launch delay. This combination of factors restricted the possible landing sites.

Both the Apollo 11 and Apollo 12 missions were targeted to land on smooth, flat mare surfaces deemed to have low numbers of impact craters. An eastern site was preferred for Apollo 11, which would leave a western site for backup, but too far east would require a night splashdown on the return to Earth. Mare Tranquillitatis was the only suitable landing site. The Apollo 12 site was selected to investigate a western mare region and, specifically, to land at a previous Surveyor site to demonstrate pinpoint landing accuracy. Apollo 12 landed within 160 meters (525 feet) of the Surveyor 3 spacecraft, within walking distance, and provided a clear demonstration of U.S. superiority in the space race with the Soviet Union.

Apollo 11: First Manned Landing

The landing sites, once selected, were studied carefully beforehand using the results of Ranger, Surveyor, Lunar Orbiter, and previous Apollo missions, and each had specific scientific goals. The Apollo 11 landing site would answer questions about the origin and composition of an old mare surface. Apollo 12: Another Mare Site

The Apollo 12 (Surveyor 3) site was selected because it appeared to contain basalts of a different type and age. The site lay on one of the bright rays from the crater Copernicus, offering the chance to sample some of the ray material

Apollo 14: the Fra Mauro Highlands

An area on the rough highlands north of Fra Mauro Crater was chosen as the Apollo 14 site. The intent was to investigate the Fra Mauro Formation, thought to be material ejected by the Imbrium Basin impact. This material would potentially provide a date for the Imbrium event and a sample of rocks from deep within the Moon's crust

Apollo 15

The Apollo 15 site was located at the edge of Mare Imbrium at the foot of the mountains forming its main topographic ring. This geologically complex site provided for investigation of Mare Imbrium, the Apennine Mountains, and a long channel-like feature called Hadley Rille. This site was the farthest north of the six landed missions, and it provided the third leg of a triangle for the seismic and laser-ranging arrays.

Apollo 16:

Apollo 16 targeted the lunar highlands, away from the basalt-filled basins. The main objectives were to determine the age of the highlands and whether they were volcanic. A site was selected along the edge of the smooth Cayley Plains adjacent the Descartes Mountains so as to explore and sample both features. The site contained two small, fresh craters that penetrated the surface formations and that provided natural drill samples of the underlying materials.

Apollo 17: the Taurus Littrow Valley

The Apollo 17 landing site, like the Apollo 15 site, was chosen to be at the interface between a mare and a highland region. The Taurus Littrow Valley, along the southeastern edge of Mare Serenitatis, was selected to investigate the age of the basin, the different kinds of highland landforms surrounding the basin, the basalts that filled the basin, and the dark mantling materials thought potentially to be young volcanic ash deposits. Also, craters in the Taurus-Littrow Valley floor were thought to be secondary craters from the Tycho event, providing the possibility of sampling Tycho ejecta and dating the impact.

rasorenson
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Posts: 78
From: Santa Clara, CA, USA
Registered: Nov 2009

posted 03-26-2012 09:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for rasorenson   Click Here to Email rasorenson     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks. There is a fair amount of information regarding the selection of landing sites. I am looking for the individual eva route planning. I'll keep digging and post what I find.

Michael Davis
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Posts: 353
From: Houston, Texas
Registered: Aug 2002

posted 03-27-2012 07:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael Davis   Click Here to Email Michael Davis     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You might want to take a look at "Exploring the Moon: The Apollo Expeditions" by David M. Harland. It gives a remarkable amount of information on the reasons for selecting landing sites, the geological science to be investigated, and the post-mission study of the information collected. A great deal of information is provided on how the individual EVA routes were selected to get the maximum science out of each mission.

The book focuses on the final three landings. It deals with which sections of the EVA routes had priority and how they were modified when surface time was running low. It also discusses the landing sites that got away when the final planned missions in the program were dropped. A great book on the lunar science of Apollo.

garymilgrom
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Posts: 1571
From: Atlanta, GA, USA
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 03-27-2012 10:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for garymilgrom   Click Here to Email garymilgrom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for the note about Harland's book Michael. It's available used at Amazon for under $2 plus shipping. I just picked one up and am looking forward to the details you described.

Headshot
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Posts: 182
From: Streamwood, IL USA
Registered: Feb 2012

posted 04-02-2012 03:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Headshot   Click Here to Email Headshot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Another excellent source is The International Atlas of Lunar Exploration by Stooke. It has maps of EVA routes for various Apollo landing sites, some of which were not visited like Littrow crater, Copernicus, Censorinus and the Marius Hills. For some of the sites that were visited, there are alternate EVA route maps had the LM missed its landing point and landed up or down range. Unfortunately the book is expensive, but well worth the price, in my estimation.

Headshot
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Posts: 182
From: Streamwood, IL USA
Registered: Feb 2012

posted 04-02-2012 04:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Headshot   Click Here to Email Headshot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As a follow-up to my previous post. Two additional, indespensible books on the subject are: To a Rocky Moon by Don Wilhelms and NASA's Where No Man Has Gone Before. Both of these are available on-line at the Lunar and Planetary Institute web site under the Resouces heading. The first book is written from a geologist's point of view and the second is NASA's official history of how the sites were chosen and what the astronauts would do once they landed. Of course all this was a battle between scientific, engineering and operational committees.

rasorenson
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Posts: 78
From: Santa Clara, CA, USA
Registered: Nov 2009

posted 04-04-2012 11:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for rasorenson   Click Here to Email rasorenson     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for the referral to Anthony Young's book and the Intl. Atlas of Lunar Exploration. I'm checking them out. I also find myself returning to where I almost always wind up- for good reason, the Lunar and Planetary Institute archives.

Dwight
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Posts: 468
From: Germany
Registered: Dec 2003

posted 04-05-2012 03:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dwight   Click Here to Email Dwight     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I would also strongly recommend the JSC History Portal. You will find many of the more obscure documents and memos in the archives there.

You can perform an online search and request copies of the documents you require. I used them to locate about 80% of the information for "Live TV From the Moon" and 98% for its hopefully soon-to-be-published follow-up.

Rusty B
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Posts: 239
From: Sacramento, CA
Registered: Oct 2004

posted 04-05-2012 07:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rusty B   Click Here to Email Rusty B     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here are some lunar landing planning documents on the NASA NTRS server:
  • Potential lunar landing areas for early Apollo missions - 1967 [PDF]
  • Lunar landing site selection briefing: Compilation of presentation material - 1967 [PDF]
  • A preliminary study of a lunar landing mission to Copernicus - 1968 [PDF]
  • A lunar landing mission to a mare ridge - 1968 PDF]
  • Fra Mauro - Apollo 13 prime landing site - 1970 PDF]
  • To accompany geologic map of Fra Mauro landing site - Apollo 13 - Scale 1-5000 PDF]
  • Geologic characteristics of Lade, a possible Apollo highland landing site - 1970 PDF]
  • Preliminary traverse planning for Apollo 15 Hadley-Apennine Status report - 1971 PDF]
  • Mission planning considerations for an Apollo 15 walking traverse - 1971 PDF]
  • Revision of operational constraints for J mission traverse planning - 1970 PDF]
  • J-mission traverse planning - The implications of Apollo 13 traverse scientific activities - 1970 PDF]
  • Projected activities at science stations for J-mission traverse planning - 1970 PDF]
  • Operational constraints for J mission traverse planning - 1970 [PDF]

Rusty B
Member

Posts: 239
From: Sacramento, CA
Registered: Oct 2004

posted 04-05-2012 07:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rusty B   Click Here to Email Rusty B     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here are more links to lunar landing planning documents on the NASA NTRS server -
  • LRV lunar traverse obstacle avoidance study - 1971 [PDF]
  • What is a traverse?[ - 1970 [PDF]
  • [An approach to J mission lunar surface traverse design as illustrated at Merriam Crater, Arizona - 1970 PDF]
  • A general discussion of crew safety traverse constraints - 1970 [PDF]
  • Modular timeline elements for lunar roving vehicle traverse station stops - 1970 [PDF
  • Implications of revised EVA capabilities on traverse envelopes - 1970 [PDF]
  • Handy Dandy charts for determining operational constraint effects in lunar traverse planning - 1969 [PDF]
  • A study of lunar traverse missions - 1968 (117 mb) [PDF]
  • Advanced systems traverse research project report - 1968 [PDF]
  • Underwater simulation of a lunar-surface traverse - 1968 [PDF]
  • Maximum allowable emergency return distance for lunar geology traverses using the LRV without the BSLSS - 1972 [PDF]
  • Real-time determination of PLSS O2 walkback constraints during lunar surface traverses - 1971 [PDF]
  • Moon-to-earth antenna look angles for continuous TV coverage during LRV traverses - 1971 [PDF]
  • EVA VHF communications with LM on Apollo 15 traverses - 1971 [PDF]
  • Lunar exploration objectives and the role of long range lunar traverses - 1970 [PDF]
  • Proposed changes in Fra Mauro traverses to obtain significant VHF communications performance data on Apollo 14 - 1970 [PDF]
  • An analysis of the capability to perform the Apollo 13 Fra Mauro traverses - 1970 [PDF]
  • Evaluation of Mobility Modes on Lunar Exploration Traverses - Marius Hills, Copernicus Peaks, and Hadley Apennines Missions - 1969 [PDF]
  • Engineering implications of preliminary scientific traverses for the Apollo J missions - 1969 [PDF]

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