The past and future Moon

By Phil Plait | July 7, 2008 3:02 pm

For some reason, Boston.com has been putting gorgeous, hi-res images online from various subjects. Their latest is a series of pix from Apollo as well as NASA’s testing of future lunar vehicles. The pictures are splashy and beautiful!

My favorite is this one:

NASA spacesuit and rover test

I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s the anonymous visor, or the cheap camera tied with string around the surrogate astronaut’s neck. I dunno, but it’s still really cool.

Tip o’ the anonymous spacesuit visor to the many folks who sent this to me!

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Cool stuff, NASA, Pretty pictures

Comments (32)

  1. Thomas Siefert

    It looks like a Mondoshawan from the Fifth Element

  2. I hope the astronaut is able to work that camera with the gloves on. Otherwise, it could be a serious bummer.

  3. Andy Beaton

    My first thought was “so that was what the Apollo pix looked like before they photoshopped the sky black”.
    My second thought was (after the link) those new vehicles look pretty awesome, but that Crew Mobility Chassis doesn’t have much ground clearance for a place as rocky and bumpy as the Moon.

  4. Huron

    Humpback astronauts, eh?

  5. 01101001

    “[...] that Crew Mobility Chassis doesn’t have much ground clearance for a place as rocky and bumpy as the Moon.”

    The chassis can raise and lower — lower for mounting/loading, raise for driving.

    Pictures: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/constellation/main/lunar_truck.html

  6. Leigh

    If I was that astronaut I would be more afraid of comming home only to find I forgot to load the film. “Yes dear, I know you told me to check again, yes dear, I’m sorry.”

  7. Alex

    Is that the same location they used to fake the first one?

  8. Davidlpf

    I wonder if they can get pictures of the stars with that camera when they are on the moon. :-)

  9. BaldApe

    At least they’re not wasting gazillions of dollars of taxpayer money sending expensive cameras into space and not bringing them back. Everybody knows that NASA’s budget is 75% of the federal deficit, right?

  10. Davidlpf

    I thought it was 95% of the budget.

  11. jole

    Andy B – my thoughts exactly! “I told you they never left earth!”

    And NASA has obviously been devious in other ways too – I’m sure I built the lunar truck out of LEGO when I was a kid (remember the moon sets?) – they must have used secret alien technology to spy on me and steal my prototypes.

  12. *Entranced*

    PURRRRRTY!

  13. Monkey

    I love the post. Love it. However, I was a weeeeeee bit thrown off by the glaring “Jenna the Professional Astrologer” ad banner above :)

    Just say’n, is all……..

    I too was thinking about the ground clearance on the one rover…but the info posted in the comments makes sense. Im picturing a lunar rover blinged out with hydraulic shocks bouncing up and down….anyone else?!?

  14. Richie

    I too was thinking about the ground clearance on the one rover…but the info posted in the comments makes sense. Im picturing a lunar rover blinged out with hydraulic shocks bouncing up and down….anyone else?!?

    Ooh! Spinners! Make lunar exploration appeal to the 18-25 age bracket by pimping the Moon Rovers…sorry, CMC’s…with all the latest bling parts. Neons, spinners, phat tires and hydraulics. All they need now is a stereo blaring rap.

    Yeah…maybe not.

  15. Maugrim

    They’re latest?

    They’re latest?!

    *twitch*

  16. madge

    Great shots, the old & the new.
    Did anyone (Brits only I’m guessing) catch this month’s Sky at Night? Dr Chris (SWOON) Lintott on the Phoenix lander. It was AWESOME!

  17. MKR

    The reflection in the visor is what does it for me.

  18. Maugrim– oops. That was a typo from a draft. I hate it when that happens. I fixed it, thanks.

  19. Shoeshine Boy

    Very nice pix. Thanks, Phil.

  20. William

    Phil… love to read your stuff. I know someone else (at least one) brought this up…. Astrologer ad at the top of your page. Is there nothing you can do?

  21. Hey what i your comment on the meteor that will hit us on 2029?

  22. Lem

    Off-topic, but I figured you’re more likely to see it here (I wish I coud post the screen-shot – it gave me a chuckle).

    I hit your site this morning and saw a fresh, gleaming astrology advertisement on the banner add at the top of your page – advertising “100% accurate horoscopes”.

    Issues with your new sponsors?

  23. !AstralProjectile

    …Neons, spinners, phat tires and hydraulics…

    There is a Mars buggy like that in John Varley’s novel Blue Thunder. There is a chance of a movie version…

  24. Richie, not so sure on the bling, but the stereo would be pretty much useless. Without an atmosphere, the sound wouldn’t travel on the moon. The chassis of the rig would conduct sound, but the webbed seats and the density of the suits would probably render it a barely audible rumble.. If you want to make it really interesting, turn the next moon landing into an episode of ‘survivor’ where the looser gets left behind. That would surely turn up the ratings.

  25. Ala'a

    Is that a Garmin GPS antenna on the back???

  26. Charles

    “If you want to make it really interesting, turn the next moon landing into an episode of ’survivor’ where the looser gets left behind. That would surely turn up the ratings.”

    How about all of the back-stabbing snivelly 20-somethings that populate that show get left behind? That show reminds me of too many of the 80′s or 90′s corporate “team building” excercises like Ropes Courses and the like. Fun, but it helps business how?

    Back to subject, I wonder what camera technology will be used on the next moon landings. Surely, it will be wirelessly networked digital, especially as the tech improves for digital. Right now, however, the lighting on the moon is so harsh that digital would actually be a poor choice. Film still has more contrast lattitude than even the best digital camera.

  27. Quiet Desperation

    Wait… wait… I *definitely* see some sort of artificial structure reflected in the visor.

    WHAT ARE THEY HIDING!!1!?

  28. madge

    @ WTMF
    It’s a near earth asteroid called 99942 Apophis.

    http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/risk/a99942.html

    The risk calculated by nasa is zero on the Torino scale in 2029 and for it’s subsequent near passes in 2036 2037 and 2069. There is talk of fixing a transmitter to it so we can map it’s position with more accuracy but I’m not gonna be hiding under the stairs just yet. :)

  29. Umm…

    Apollo 15 was the ninth manned mission to the Moon

    Let’s see:

    • Apollo 8
    • Apollo 10
    • Apollo 11
    • Apollo 12
    • Apollo 13
    • Apollo 14
    • Apollo 15

    (I hope lists appear correctly here.)
    Looks like the 7th manned mission to me. Did I forget two?

  30. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    *SWEEET* potatoe!

    Okay, the new Moon buggy bugs me out. They have the right concept though, but WHERE ARE THE CAMERAS and the video consoles? I realize that a turntable position is better than screen backviewers, so I don’t care about the added weight or mechanics wear and tear. But if I get lousy wide band color web cam from the future Moon instead of surround cameras on anything that moves I’m gonna cry! I’m just saying.

    crab steering

    There’s a potential weight/wear saver though. One can use traction rollers for low velocity crab turns or trajectories, if one already has independent drives as here.

    In principle biconical rollers set in an angle over the rim. Some industry trucks have tried them. More rubber, less mechanics. In fact, the multiroller config would make sense for safety reasons too – loose one or two, and it still works AFAIU, including high speed normal drive.

    They look ridiculous as they move at angles by differential wheel speeds, or sideways by contraturning the wheels, but it is a really cool feature in tight spaces.

  31. Niko C

    Some of the new vehicles look cool… but i’m really disappointed with this orion craft they say are replacing the shuttles. have you seen it? I guess NASA has so little budget (and imagination) they are just re-using the capsules from 60′s. Its really quite sad.

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