Apollo 14 Lunar Surface Journal

Nördlinger Ries Crater, Germany

Fred Hörz, Harald Kucharek, Ulrich Lotzmann, Dieter Stöffler, and Klaus Zeitner contributed to this discussion.
Last revised 12 July 2012.
Relief map of Ries Crater

Relief Model of Ries Crater, which is an impact structure located 100 kilometers east of Stuttgart. The crater is 25 km across, with the medieval town of Nördlingen on the crater floor. Ries Crater is about 15 million years old. Additional information can be found at the Rieskrater-Museum Nördlingen website and in the Earth Impact Data Base.

Aerial Photo of Nördlingen

Aerial view of Nördlingen at 1629 local time, 27 August 2007.
Photo courtesy Lukas and Harald Kucharek.

 

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Apollo 14 Geology Field Trip to Nördlingen Ries Crater, Germany
by Al Shepard, Ed Mitchell, Gene Cernan, and Joe Engle
10-15 August 1970

Apollo 14 at Ries Crater

Quarry at Otting/Nördlingen Ries. From the left: Al Shepard, Dr. Fred Hörz (NASA), Ed Mitchell, Prof. Wolf von Engelhardt, Gene Cernan, and Joe Engle.

Fred Hörz writes, "The Ries trip was initiated by Dr. Mike McEwen, the Apollo 14 Science Trainer of NASA; I assisted Mike, because I was at LSI (now LPI), about to be hired (ultimately in Dec.1970) by NASA as Apollo 16 Trainer and general 'crater' expert. Typically the NASA and USGS staff that came along on these field trips were in charge, with the local folks providing the expert details."


The photographs in this section were provided to Lotzmann by Dr. Dieter Stöffler,
one of the German geologists who hosted the astronaut visit.

 

Otting Quarry 1 ( 63k )
Quarry at Otting/Nördlingen Ries. Al Shepard and geologist Dr. Dieter Stöffler (right).
Otting Quarry 2 ( 149k )
Quarry at Otting/Nördlingen Ries. From the left: Professor Wolf von Engelhardt, Dr. Ed Mitchell, Gene Cernan, and Dr. Stöffler
Otting Quarry 3 ( 67k )
Quarry at Otting/Nördlingen Ries. From the left: Al Shepard, Dr. Fred Hörz (NASA), Dr. Ed Mitchell, Prof. von Engelhardt, Gene Cernan, and Joe Engle.
Institute of Mineralogy ( 37k )
Prof. von Engelhardt (with cigarette), head of the Institute at the University of Tübingen, Germany, discusses impact craters. Seated, from the left: Dr Ed Mitchell, Dr. Fred Hörz, and Joe Engle. Prof. von Engelhardt, born 9 February 1910 in Dorpat (Tartu), Estonia, died 4 December 2008. See an obituary by Dieter Stöffler and Wolf Uwe Reimold,
Quarry ( 177k )
Quarry at Harburg/Nördlingen Ries. From the left: Mr. Abadian, Prof von Engelhardt, unknown, Dr Ed Mitchell, Joe Engle, Dr. Fred Hörz, Gene Cernan, Dr Stöffler, Al Shepard.
Harburg Quarry 1 ( 113k )
Quarry at Harburg/Nördlingen Ries. Astronauts, instructors, reporter.
Harburg Quarry 2 ( 398k )
Quarry at Harburg/Nördlingen Ries. From the left: Al Shepard, Dr. Fred Hörz, Dr Ed Mitchell, Dr. Mike McEwen (MSC), a U.S. embassy representative, Joe Engle (behind Embassy rep), Gene Cernan, and Prof von Engelhardt.
Harburg Quarry 3 ( 1110k )
Quarry at Harburg/Nördlingen Ries. From the left: Al Shepard, Gene Cernan, Joe Engle, Dr McEwen, Dr. Fred Hörz.
Harburg Quarry 4 ( 183k )
Quarry at Harburg/Nördlingen Ries. From the left: Joe Engle, Gene Cernan, a US embassy representative, Al Shepard.
Al Shepard ( 227k )
Portrait taken at Nördlingen Ries.
Quarry ( 128k )
Al Shepard, Prof von Engelhardt (immediately beyond and slightly to the left of Shepard), Dr Stöffler (right of Shepard), Joe Engle (blue shirt beyond Stöffler), and others.
Ries Visit ( 128k )
Al Shepard, Prof von Engelhardt (immediately beyond and slightly to the left of Shepard), Dr Stöffler (right of Shepard), Joe Engle (blue shirt beyond Stöffler), and others.

 

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German Newspaper Coverage of the Apollo 14 Geology Field Trip

Fred Hörz writes, "As you can see from some of the news clips, we had a difficult time handling the German press; the latter was more disrespectful of our needs and goals than any press I encountered during all of crew training. It was a real circus atmosphere wherever we went and whatever we did. Reports about beer and wine drinking, disgruntled authorities and quarry owners hit the national press. Also, following the field trip, the crew was 'hosted' by Daimler-Benz for a weekend. Reports about test-driving race cars and going elk-hunting etc also forced Deke Slayton to decide that it 'looks like too much fun and not enough work; no more Ries for Apollo 15, 16, and 17.' Too bad! We could never convince him otherwise!"

All of the articles linked below were published in the Augsburger Allgemeine on the dates indicated. Used with permission. Scans and translations by Klaus Zeitner.
newspaper photo

Flowers and a kiss from a three-year-old girl during the reception of the Apollo-14-astronauts at their arrival in Stuttgart. Even Eugene A. Cernan, a member of the backup crew, was astonished.

 

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