Apollo 15 Lunar Surface Journal

Post-EVA-2 Activities

Corrected Transcript and Commentary Copyright © 1996 by Eric M. Jones.
All rights reserved. Last revised 19 August 2008.

[The CapCom is now Dick Gordon, the Apollo 12 Command Module Pilot and the Apollo 15 backup Commander.]
MP3 Audio Clip ( 0 min 31 sec ) by David Shaffer

149:53:23 Gordon: Falcon, Houston.

149:53:29 Scott: Hello, Houston. Go ahead.

149:53:31 Gordon: Okay, Davy, when you get to (Surface) 8-6 on water recharge, I've got a change for you. When you can take it, just let me know.

149:53:40 Scott: Okay, Richard. We'll do that.

149:53:45 Gordon: You two guys really know how to impress people, I'll tell you.

149:53:52 Scott: Well, you know, we sure have a lot of good things going for us.

[Very Long Comm Break. Jim's next transmission relates the battery management procedures on Surface 8-3. They had planned to reach that point in the checklist at a Ground Elapsed Time of 148:55 or, as noted in the checklist, at 13:29 Houston time. Jim's next transmission comes at 15:05 Central Daylight Time in Houston and, by both measures, they are about 96 minutes behind schedule.]
MP3 Audio Clip ( 4 min 24 sec ) by David Shaffer

150:31:40 Irwin: Houston, this is Hadley Base.

150:31:42 Gordon: Go ahead, Jim.

150:31:46 Irwin: Yeah. Are y'all ready to go ahead with this battery management? It's called for at 13:29.

150:31:51 Gordon: Roger. We're watching you; Go.

150:31:57 Irwin: Okay. (Pause)

150:32:06 Gordon: Now, I know where you are in the checklist.

150:32:13 Irwin: We're trying to get to lunch time here.

150:32:15 Gordon: Well, the sooner you do it, the sooner you get to sleep, and we'll be very anxiously awaiting that.

[Comm Break]
150:33:24 Irwin: Dick, I missed your comment when we lost comm there.

150:33:32 Gordon: Jim, I gave you a go-ahead on that battery; and, concerning your lunch, we're anxiously awaiting you to do all that so you can get to bed. We've got a time problem, as you might well recognize.

150:33:46 Irwin: Yeah, I understand.

150:33:47 Gordon: And, we'll talk to you a little bit about that when you get a chance.

150:33:53 Irwin: Okay. (Long Pause)

150:34:24 Gordon: Jim, verify Power Amp's Primary.

150:34:31 Irwin: That's a...I'm sorry, I got the wrong one, Dick.

150:34:36 Gordon: Okay, we didn't have you on high bit rate, but we'll get it as soon as you do.

150:34:47 Gordon: Okay, we are looking at your batteries now, they look great. (Long Pause)

150:35:27 Gordon: Okay, Jim, we're getting good high bit rate and we'll watch those batteries for a little while.

150:35:36 Irwin: Okay. (Long Pause) Houston, ED (Explosive Device) batteries both checked at 37.

150:37:09 Gordon: Thank you, Jim. (Long Pause)

[While Jim was performing the Battery Management tasks, Dave was weighing the sample containers as per Surface 8-4.]
150:37:57 Irwin: Houston, this is Hadley. I have a weight report for you.

150:38:01 Gordon: Go ahead.

150:38:05 Irwin: Roger. SRC was 40 (terrestrial pounds); bag 3 was 30; bag 6 [was] 33 - for a total of 103.

150:38:16 Gordon: Copy, Jim.

[Comm Break]
150:39:33 Irwin: And Houston, Hadley Base again, standing by for your cue to go PCM, Low, and Power Amp, Off.

150:39:45 Gordon: Say, Jim, just give us a couple more minutes. (Pause) I'll call you back on it.

150:39:52 Irwin: Okay. (Long Pause)

150:40:22 Gordon: Falcon, Houston. Okay, we're through looking at your batteries. You can proceed.

150:40:32 Irwin: Roger. We'll reconfigure (the circuit breaker panels).

[Long Comm Break]
150:44:05 Gordon: Falcon, Houston. PCM, Low, please.

150:44:15 Irwin: Roger; PCM, Low.

[Very Long Comm Break. Next, Dave and Jim will doff the suits as per Surface 8-4 and 8-5.]
MP3 Audio Clip ( 25 min 47 sec ) by David Shaffer

151:13:10 Gordon: Falcon, Houston. Jim and Dave, can you let me know where-abouts you are. I've got some word for you before you get to PLSS recharge and the ETB stowage

151:13:22 Scott: Okay. Jim's just getting out of his suit now. I'm out of mine.

151:13:27 Gordon: Okay, Dave. I bet that feels good.

151:13:33 Scott: Yeah, boy!

151:13:35 Gordon: Look, on that telemetry biomed, since we looked at you last night, you can leave that where it is in the "Right" (LMP) position, and we'll look at Jim tonight.

151:13:45 Scott: Okay, fine. And I'll tell you the secret to living up here is getting out of these suits. It really makes the difference.

151:13:51 Gordon: Yeah, I believe you're absolutely right. (Pause)

[Scott - "The decision to take the suits off was a big deal."]

[Jones - "The nature of the argument for not taking them off was potential damage to zippers and the possibility of not being able to get 'em closed up."]

[Scott - "It was more the abort modes and things like that. The time it would take getting them on. And the overhead of taking them off. I don't know what rationale 14 went through about leaving them on. I think that, when we started this (meaning planning for Apollo 15) and looked at it, it was clear, from the very beginning, you've got to get out of the suits if you're going to stay there three days. 'Cause you've got to get some sleep, and the only way you're going to get any sleep - any restful sleep - is getting out of the suits. So we made the decision early on. That's why I'm asking (about 14)."]

[Jones - "I would imagine that, with the reserves, they didn't have consumables for much more than the 32 hours."]

[Scott - "Well, we didn't have all that much extra consumables, either. They went out twice, on 14, right?"]

[Jones - "They took the PLSS off in between, so they had some extra overhead."]

[Scott - "Once you get the PLSSs off, there's not much more to go. Beats me. All I know is that, right from the beginning, it was clear we had to get the suits off."]

[Jones - "It seems to me that it was Ed Mitchell who told me about the zippers." (See the discussion in the Apollo 14 Journal following 121:41:39)]

[Scott - "Running the zippers was no big deal. Look at how much we ran the zippers on the training suits. Golly. But maybe that was their rationale. And maybe, if I thought about two four-hour EVAs, I might not take the suits off, just because of the overhead involved. You don't have as much need to get a good night's rest, 'cause you're only there one night."]

151:14:00 Gordon: Okay, and I owe you a word on your PLSS recharge (on surface 8-6). When you have those things in that good vertical position, they want you to charge that descent water for 10 minutes instead of 5 you have on your checklist.

151:14:18 Scott: Okay, that's easy enough. Ten minutes instead of five. We'll do that. (Long Pause)

151:15:15 Gordon: Okay, Dave. The only additional thing I have for you, and you can just listen to this. Before you put the film away in the ETB (as per Surface 8-7), I've got a little word on the 16 millimeter stuff, and also I'll talk to you about Jim's 70 millimeter when you come back to me.

151:15:34 Scott: Okay, Dick. We'll get back to you when we get to that point. (Long Pause)

151:16:05 Gordon: And I just thought I'd let you know that you've worked right through your eat period.

151:16:14 Scott: No. We were just looking at that. As a matter of fact, I think we've got ten minutes left, don't we?

151:16:22 Gordon: No, I'm sorry about that, old friend.

151:16:26 Scott: By golly, you're right. We just went by it, didn't we? Oh, well. Have to skip some of the things up here, I guess.

[As per Surface 8-7, they had planned to start the eat period at 151:25, so Dave is correct. The humor in this exchange is extremely dry.]

[Scott - "Cleaning the suits up and getting them stowed was arduous work. You had to go slowly; and there was so much (gear) in there and it was all dirty."]

[Jones - "You put the suit legs in bags?"]

[Scott - "Sort of, to try to contain the dirt. And it was long, slow going."]

[Jones - "I think I've read that Jim found out you could grab the overhead bars and pull yourself up out of the bottom half."]

[Scott - "That's right."]

[Long Comm Break]

[Dave's next transmission indicates that they have reached Surface 8-7.]

151:31:21 Scott: (Heavy Static) Okay, Houston. Hadley Base here. Ready to copy about the ETB.

151:31:27 Gordon: Dave, can you hold up until we clear up the comm, please?

151:31:33 Scott: (Garbled)

151:31:42 Gordon: (Static clears momentarily) Dave, this is Houston. How do you hear me now?

151:31:48 Scott: (Static returns) You're loud and clear.

151:31:52 Gordon: Stand by. We've got more static here. (Static clears) Okay, it seems to have cleared. Dave, on your ETB loading, if you've got page 8-7 there, for the ETB, I've got just a couple of changes.

151:32:09 Scott: Okay, I've got it right in front of me with a pencil, so go ahead.

151:32:11 Gordon: Okay; on the black-and-white column (means "line") that has "VV" and "WW", add "Roger-Roger."

151:32:37 Scott: (Faint) Okay, add "Roger" to "V-Victory" and "Whiskey".

151:32:42 Gordon: Okay, Dave. You're down quite a bit (in volume). Scratch the black-and-white magazine "Mike-Mike" that was on the 500, and leave that on-board the LM. And you can use WW, which is on the next line up there, for the 500 millimeter. Add two more 16-millimeters: Golf-Golf and Hotel-Hotel.

151:33:11 Scott: Okay. So far I've added Roger, scratched Mike, and added Golf and Hotel on the 16s.

151:33:19 Gordon: Okay. And you can use WW on the five hundred. On the sixteen-hundred (means 16) millimeter stuff, some instructions that never got up to you and didn't get to us until today. On those 16-millimeter mags, the limit on advancing that film is one frame. And there are two red perforations...(correcting himself) two red marks alongside the window there; and, if you can line up the perforation hole with those two red marks, we ought to be in business on the 16 millimeter.

151:33:52 Scott: Dick, we did that today. We knew about that, primarily because of the split-frame problem, and we've made sure all along that those perforations were lined up with the red marks...

151:34:04 Gordon: Okay.

151:34:04 Scott: ...and we did that with the mags today, Too.

151:34:05 Gordon: Okay, that's very good; and we've done all we can with the 16. And I don't know what you've done with Jimmy's 70-millimeter, but the only thing we can suggest from down here (is), if the Mag still has exposures left, play the game with the two white windows on the camera and the magazine; and if that mag doesn't work, try to find one that does, I guess.

151:34:35 Scott: Okay; we haven't had a chance to exercise it yet, but when we get through (garbled) we'll give you a call.

151:34:41 Gordon: Well, I knew you would. We just wanted to remind you of it. Would you verify the MESA heater circuit-breaker's open for me? (Pause)

151:35:02 Scott: Okay; it was closed, and now it's open.

151:35:06 Gordon: Okay, thank you. And I guess you still have taping procedures for your PLSS, and we'll call you when the VHF window comes up with Al (Worden in the Command Module). Further, there will be no science debriefing for you guys tonight. You did such a superb job today that we don't have very many questions down here. And we would like to use that time to get you gone, and get you to bed. As you can well guess, we're holding lift-off time right where it is, and we want you to get a good night's sleep, so we're going to have to steal some time from somewhere and we're doing the best we can. We're looking at the EVA for tomorrow for you.

151:35:47 Scott: Okay, Dick. We know it's in good hands and we'll be standing by. We'll give you a call when we get around to those PLSS recharges.

151:35:54 Gordon: Okay, very good, Dave. And you want to talk to Al this pass?

151:36:00 Scott: Yeah, let's say hello to our old Endeavour buddy up there, huh?

151:36:04 Gordon: Okay. I'll give you a call.

[Very Long Comm Break]

[Astronaut Robert Parker is the Command Module CapCom during this shift.]

151:52:37 Parker: Falcon, Houston. Over.

151:52:43 Scott: Go ahead.

151:52:45 Parker: Roger; Al's going to give you a call on simplex Alpha about now.

151:52:52 Scott: Okay, thank you. (Long Pause)

151:53:13 Worden: Hello. Hello, Falcon. This is Endeavour. (No answer) Hello, Falcon. This is Endeavour. (No answer) Hello, Falcon. Endeavour. (No answer)

151:54:27 Parker: Falcon, this is Houston. Al's been calling you.

151:54:36 Scott: Haven't read him yet.

151:54:39 Worden: Hello there, Falcon. This is Endeavour.

151:54:44 Scott: Okay. Endeavour, Falcon. You must be on the other side of the mountains and we'll just stand by until you get over it, because you are always broken over there on the other side. (Long Pause)

[Scott - "It would be interesting to look the line-of-sight changes in the amount of time we had, compared to the other flights, because of the mountains. Because, if you take our position, draw a straight line through the peak, it would be pretty steep compared to a flat horizon."]

[Jones - "It would cut down a lot on the line-of-sight time."]

[Scott - "Freshman exercise."]

[Jones - "I might be able to handle that."]

[If the general ridge line of the Swann Range is at an elevation of 2 km above the landing site about 20 kilometers east of the LM, the Command Module (CM) doesn't come into view until it is about 5.7 degrees above the horizon. The CM orbits the Moon at an altitude of about 100 km and, because the Moon's radius is 1738 km, use of the sine law gives the result that, between the time the CM first comes into view and the time it passes overhead, the CM covers about 14.1 degrees of it's orbit. At a flat site, the figure would be about 19.0 degrees. The CM orbits the Moon in just about 2 hours and the 4.9 degrees difference (19.0 minus 14.1) means that the CM appears in the Hadley sky about 100 seconds later than at a flat site.]

151:55:06 Worden: Hello, Falcon. Endeavour.

151:55:12 Scott: Hi, Endeavour; the Falcon. How are you?

151:55:15 Worden: I'm doing fine. How are you doing? (No response) How do you read me now, Falcon? (No answer) Hello, Falcon. This is Endeavour.

151:56:30 Scott: Endeavour, Falcon. You're broken. How's us?

151:56:32 Worden: You're a little broken too, Dave. How's it going?

151:56:37 Scott: Okay, we'll wait until you get closer overhead, so you get past the mountains.

151:56:40 Worden: Okay, I'm just about overhead now.

151:56:49 Scott: How are things going up there? Getting lots of good data?

151:56:59 Worden: Oh, getting lots and lots of good data. How about you?

151:57:03 Scott: Yeah, we are too. Got a little over 100 pounds (of rocks) today.

151:57:09 Worden: Very good.

151:57:11 Scott: Got up the side of the mountain. Got a good look around. Things are going real well.

151:57:17 Worden: Pretty spectacular up beside that mountain, I bet.

151:57:19 Scott: Oh, man, it was super, just super. We got some great pictures for you.

151:57:24 Worden: Good. I hope I got some good ones for you, too.

151:57:27 Scott: Yeah, I tell you, I hope you can see these Rover tracks, because outside the LM here, it looks like a freeway.

151:57:33 Worden: Yeah, I'll bet it does. Well, you can collect you another bunch of rocks tomorrow and bring them home.

151:57:43 Scott: Okay, make a nice little place for them.

151:57:45 Worden: Well, we'll make a place for whatever you bring home.

151:57:47 Scott: Okay, very good.

151:57:50 Irwin: Hey, Al, throw my soap down, will you? And my spoon.

151:57:55 Worden: You forget something, Jim?

151:58:00 Irwin: I really need my soap.

151:58:02 Worden: Don't mind if I use it, do you?

151:58:05 Irwin: Save me a little bit.

151:58:10 Worden: Well, I haven't had a chance to use it yet, but I might tonight.

151:58:16 Scott: I suggest you wait until tomorrow night, Al (too faint).

151:58:21 Worden: Yeah, that's true. I guess it'll pay for us all to do that tomorrow night.

151:58:28 Irwin: Yeah, I tell you, our suits were pretty (too faint) yesterday, but (too faint).

151:58:35 Worden: How are they holding up?

151:58:36 Scott: Very well. Holding up real good.

151:58:39 Worden: Understand the Rover's doing fine.

151:58:42 Scott: Well, the Rover is doing absolutely super. We were going up the side of that mountain like (too faint).

151:58:50 Worden: Sounds great!

151:58:54 Scott: Yes, it's really a super little machine.

151:58:59 Parker: Okay, Al. Pan Camera, Off, please.

151:59:04 Worden: Okay. (Long Pause)

151:59:49 Worden: Falcon, you still there? (No answer) Falcon, can you read Endeavour now? (No answer)

[Comm Break]

[Al passed overhead about 4.7 minutes after he first appeared over the Swann Range. The horizon west of the landing site is relatively unobscured and, consequently, the Command Module set about 6.3 minutes after passing overhead. Al Worden said he was "almost overhead" at 151:56:40 and was unable to re-establish VHF comm with the LM at 151:59:49.]

[Scott, from a 1996 letter - "Each spacecraft had two VHF antennas and, for successful comm, the selected antenna on each spacecraft had to be unobscured. Apparently, we did not select a different antenna position for the (later stages of the) pass, which might account for the loss of comm. The LM-CSM comm window would be a function of the antenna patterns (and not just the horizon configuration)."]

152:01:21 Parker: Falcon, Houston. Over.

152:01:29 Scott: Go ahead Houston.

152:01:30 Parker: Roger, we've seen water usage in the last few minutes; can you confirm that this is a PLSS refill?

152:01:41 Scott: That's correct. We're 9 minutes into the 10 minutes refill.

152:01:46 Parker: Roger. Beautiful; thank you. And we have two other items for you here. I have some lift-off times, when Jim is ready to copy. And I'd like to reinforce for your consideration Dick's comments on sleep time. We have a hard limit down here of 7 hours from the time you crawl into the hammocks until the time we can figure on your arising to start activities tomorrow. Do you understand?

152:02:18 Scott: Yeah, Rog. I think we're making some time up. We're in pretty good shape. We're almost finished with dinner. We've got one PLSS just now finishing it's recharge, and the suits are all stowed and we've stowed some of the rocks, so we're in pretty good shape.

[Irwin, from the 1971 Technical Debrief - "It really isn't any problem to combine the PLSS recharging with your eating. As a matter of fact, that would be a good procedure - to get everything set up to do your recharging the PLSS and then let the PLSS recharge while you are eating. It would save some time."]

[The Apollo 16 crew decided to stick with the existing procedures and did the PLSS water recharges after dinner.]

152:02:31 Parker: Okay, and the sooner you can call me to say if you're in the hammocks, that's fine with me.

152:02:44 Scott: I understand your problem.

[Jones - "The constraint you're working on here is that the lift-off time isn't going to change and they're going to insist on seven hours in the hammock."]

[Scott - "And Bob's giving us a little signal. 'Tell me when you're in the hammock.' We've got some flexibility there."]

[What Dave means is that he can make the call even if they aren't actually in the hammocks.]

[Scott - "That's why I say, 'I understand your problem.' He's got to hear that, 'cause people are saying, 'Get 'em in the hammocks! Get 'em in the hammocks so we can start the clock.'"]

[Jones - "And were you honest about that? Were you in the hammock when you said you were?"]

[Scott - "I think so. Because I think we were in pretty good shape. We were catching up at this stage."]

[Very Long Comm Break]

152:14:59 Parker: And Falcon, Houston. Over. (Pause)

152:15:10 Scott: Houston, Falcon.

152:15:13 Parker: Roger, Falcon. And I guess we're a little gun shy (because of the leak discovered at the end of EVA-1), but we're still seeing some water usage, and we'd like to confirm that you're getting some good out of it, and it's not running out on the floor.

152:15:25 Scott: Oh, listen. We're glad you're watching. We like that! And we're charging the second PLSS right now, and we're about 5 minutes into it.

152:15:34 Parker: Say again, Dave; you're kind of weak.

152:15:40 Scott: I said, we're glad you're watching; and we're charging the second PLSS now, and we're about 5 minutes into it.

152:15:48 Parker: Okay, very good.

[Very Long Comm Break]
152:25:34 Irwin: Houston, this is Hadley Base, ready to copy lift-off pad.

152:25:45 Parker: Go ahead, Hadley. This is Houston.

152:25:52 Irwin: Yes, Bob. Ready to copy lift-off times for T-38 through 41.

152:25:58 Parker: Roger. Be right with you. (Long Pause) Okay, Jim. We have T-38 is 151:58:58; T-39 is 153:57:03; T-40 is 155:55:07; T-41 is 157:53:14. Over.

152:27:10 Irwin: Roger, Bob. Copied 151:58:58, 153:57:03, 155:55:07, and 157:53:14. Over.

152:27:23 Parker: Roger. Good readback, Jim; and I think that's all I have on my list here. We'd like a crew status report sometime before you go to bed, but unless you guys have a question, that's about all I have here on the ground.

152:27:39 Irwin: Okay, our PLSS recharge is about complete.

152:27:43 Parker: Okay, copy.

[Long Comm Break]
152:33:01 Irwin: (Faint) Bob, this is Jim. (Long Pause) Houston, this is Hadley Base. (Long Pause) (Louder) Houston, Hadley Base.

152:33:46 Parker: Go ahead, Hadley. (Pause) Hadley Base, this is Houston. Over.

152:33:58 Irwin: Bob, this is Jim. Bob, this is Jim calling.

152:34:02 Parker: Go ahead. (Pause) Jim, this is Bob; go ahead.

152:34:18 Irwin: Yeah, I was wondering whether you'd heard from the Endeavour that's sailing through the Northwest Passage. It should be at Point Barrow now. He said he would be trying to give us a call.

152:34:29 Parker: Tonight?

152:34:33 Irwin: Or sometime while we're on the Moon.

152:34:35 Parker: Okay. We've heard nothing that I know of.

152:34:40 Irwin: Okay. Somehow he was going to try and come through Mission Control down there.

152:34:43 Parker: Okay. No, I haven't seen anything while I've been in here; and, Jim, you and Dave might think also that...

152:34:50 Irwin: If you hear from him...

152:34:51 Parker: Go ahead. (Pause) Stand by, Jim.

152:35:03 Irwin: Yeah, your transmission was cut out. Say again, Bob.

152:35:12 Parker: Okay, Jim. It turns out we do indeed have said message, which reads: "We carry out our separate voyages in the spirit of Endeavour which unites people in their efforts to overcome the common tasks when confronted by the elements of sea and wind or harsh environment of space. Hopefully, this force will bring the nations of Earth closer together as we explore beyond our planet in the name of 'Endeavour'." And so forth. Okay?

152:35:42 Irwin: Very good. Thank you for the message, Bob.

152:35:44 Parker: Okay, and another message, that you guys might pause to consider, is that the Surgeon is going to want you to change your sponges and tapes in the morning.

152:36:02 Irwin: Roger; we understand.

152:36:04 Parker: Okay. We'll be standing by for a call when you go to sleep.

152:36:14 Irwin: Roger.

[Very Long Comm Break]

[In Houston, the press is informed that, because the crew is about an hour and a half behind schedule, plans are being drawn up for EVA-3 variations of four, five, and six hour lengths. The choice of which plan to use will be determined by when the crew gets started in the morning.]

[Scott - "There was nothing in the pre-flight plan to change that stuff, 'cause that's a pretty substantial piece of overhead."]

[Jones - "Changing the sponges and tapes."]

[Scott - "And we're hurting on time. So, are they throwing in something extra, and is that because of Jim's heart?"]

[Jones - "That's an interesting question."]

[There is, indeed, nothing in the checklist to indicate a planned refurbishment of the biomedical sensors.]

[Scott - "They don't call up standard stuff in the checklist, 'cause you'd be doing that forever. So, if it was not an additional task, it would not have been called up, I wouldn't think."]

["Changing that stuff is not hard, but it takes time. And here we are, bunched up for time, and there hadn't been any problem in the transmissions, that we know of. They haven't said that they're not getting data. Maybe they're worried about the data, and they're not sure it's clean data. And therefore, they want to go through this overhead exercise. And they don't tell us why they want to do that; but they do tell us we're locked into the time. 'Got to get seven hours sleep and got to lift off on time, so you got a time problem.' And then they throw in another chunk of expensive overhead, and we're in a box already."]

MP3 Audio Clip ( 13 min 16 sec ) by David Shaffer

153:14:27 Scott: Hello, Houston; Hadley Base.

153:14:31 Parker: Go ahead, Hadley.

153:14:35 Scott: Okay. Start your clock.

[As per Surface 8-8, they had planned to start the 7-hour rest period at 151:25. They are about 1 hour 50 minutes behind schedule.]
153:14:38 Parker: Beautiful, and we'd like to verify a couple of things before you go to bed; one, that you called up the computer and then put it back to sleep; and two, that you've changed the lithium hydroxide canisters.

153:14:51 Scott: Roger. Both verified.

153:14:54 Parker: Roger. And do you have any crew status?

153:15:03 Scott: Oh, yeah. We're both fine. No medication and in the sack.

153:15:09 Parker: Okay, and that was a super day today, Dave and Jim. We'll wake you up in approximately 7 hours.

153:15:18 Scott: Okay, Bob. Thank you. We had a great time.

153:15:21 Parker: It looked that way.

MP3 Audio Clip ( 15 min 49 sec ) by David Shaffer

[At 154:04, the Surgeon reports that, although Irwin is not yet soundly asleep, his heart rate is beginning to fall.]

[At 155:03, Jim is dozing.]

[At 156:00, Al Worden is sound asleep; but Jim Irwin is not.]

[In 1989, Jim and I spent three half-days together and reviewed part of EVA-1. We stopped at about 125:24:03 - early in the ALSEP deployment - and, unfortunately, were never able to schedule another session. The following is a conversation that ended our discussions.]

[Jones - "What aspects of the activities were easier than they were in training, what aspects were harder? Is there anything that sticks in your mind, one way or the other?"]

[Irwin - "Thinking of the ALSEP deployment, for one, the only difficulty I had was (at about 125:10:22) in releasing all the Boyd bolts (on the Central Station) to let it spring into action. Spring up. I thought I'd had a positive release on all of them but, apparently, one of them was hanging up. And I never remember having that problem on the Earth. So I had to redo it and waste a little time there. I finally got it to release. There was also a string that had broken. A special pin had to be removed and, normally, you put the UHT down and engaged the string and pulled the string that pulled the pin. And I think that string had broken, so I had to get down on my knees - and in that position I could see what the problem was - remove that pin and the Station was released, and it came up. We just had some technical problems that occurred with the deployment. Dave had problems with the drill; and I had problems with the Central Station."]

["I guess (some of the problems were due, in part, to the fact) that you're greatly handicapped in the space suit. Even though we'd trained a lot in the spacesuit on Earth, you still have gravity (differences). There, gravity is light and you just feel awkward. And the surface, which is not very firm (can create problems). But really (most of the problems were only) small surprises. The major surprise, the major glitch in the whole operation was the drill and the fact that we had to go back and visit it time after time. Three times I guess, and that consumed a lot of time. I don't know that that long-core sample was worth all that. Maybe it was, but it denied us getting to the Northern Complex."]

[Jones - "There are a lot of people who think very highly of those deep cores, because they give you details of the soil stratigraphy and the processes that create the soil."]

[Irwin - "That's good."]

[Jones - "What was the most interesting part of this exercise for you, either technically or as an experience, or both."]

[Irwin - "You mean exploring the Moon?"]

[Jones - "Yeah. Of all of the activities that went on during those three days, was there a part of it that was of particular interest to you either then or in hindsight?"]

[Irwin - "Well, you know, I've been talking about the experience now for the last eighteen years and I've just focused, really, on some key discoveries that were made. I usually talk about the discovery of the white rock (at Spur Crater during EVA-2), the one the press labeled the Genesis Rock. That discovery was important, I guess, because the scientists were so anxious for us to find such a rock in the mountains of the moon. And sometimes I talk about the green rock that we found right after that (actually, just before)."]

["But then I talk about kind of an ethereal feeling, what I refer to as a spiritual experience and that was significant to me because I just never thought that would exist, although I shouldn't have been surprised because I have that feeling sometimes...Well, I've climbed a lot of mountains and have done a lot of backpacking and sometimes when you get out in the desert or out in the woods somewhere, you have that sensation that you're not alone and that someone else is there with you. I should have anticipated that, but I just thought I'd be so busy there I'd never, probably, have that sensation. But it was a strong sensation, so I've been talking about it all these years."]

[Jones - "Was it during the moments, say on the ride back to the LM, when you had a chance to look around more?"]

[Irwin - "Well, certainly then. Normally, when we're at the stations we're taking pictures and we're involved in the sampling and we're always busy and there's something to be done all the time. Just trying to keep track of all the equipment that we had and not to forget something at one station and end up going back for it. So you're always pressed for time, and we knew that would happen. And I don't think we really fully thought about the total experience until we got back, back to the Earth. We were busy all the time on the mission, even when we were circling the Moon for those two days, looking down it and flying over our site many times, I don't know that my thoughts were ever transferred to the surface operation. It was just, you know, special to be on another world, to be at a place where few would visit, in my time."]

["Hopefully, in the future, there will be many more go there as we continue the exploration, as we use the resources. And I really think that the Moon will play a very important in the future of man kind. All the ways that will occur, I don't know. I can visualize a few, but I'm sure there many things that will happen that I can't envision at this point."]

[Jones - "Is it reasonable to suppose that other folks might try to get out away from the base for a while and contemplate that spiritual experience that you had?"]

[Irwin - "I'm sure you've probably thought of where we might set up a lunar base in the future. It's been proposed that Hadley Base might be a good site - to place it, you know, in the canyon or perhaps under the mountain for great protection from all the hazards of living on the Moon. But I don't know all the factors that must be considered for the selection of a site of that Lunar Base. But I'm sure that Dave and I would both recommended it, because it is a beautiful location."]

[Jones - "There are two places I'd put it. One is at Hadley, on the other side of the rille so that you can have relatively easy access to the mare. You need a place, in my mind, that's got a variety of geologic terrains - whatever the right word is. So you've got mare out there, you've got the mountains."]

[Irwin - "Providing you can cross the rille."]

[Jones - "Yes. You need a place where the visiting Congressmen can go see where it started, in a spectacular setting. I think the 17 site might be a little bit better from the point of view of crossing rilles. If you stuck a site just outside the entrance to Taurus-Littrow, then you'd have access to the Massifs and you could also go out into Serenitatis and you could take the visiting Congressmen back in and take them around to the places where Jack and Gene walked. But, if there's a place where you can cross the rille at Hadley, then that would be an excellent choice, too."]

[Irwin - "But don't you think the mountain will always be a source of resources, as well as....I'm just thinking you might want to put living quarters underneath the mountain. Excavate under the mountain."]

[Jones - "To bury things, you might want to use the regolith right down at the base, that talus that comes down the..."]

[Irwin - "I know it doesn't have to be very deep beneath the surface to get adequate protection. But you get tremendous protection if you're burrowed under the mountain."]

[Jones - "It was strikingly beautiful place. Thinking back on it, is that the way you remember it?"]

[Irwin - "Oh yeah. A beautiful little valley in the high mountains of the moon."]

[Jones - "There's an openness to it that comes through in the photographs that may not be real. Was there a sense that it was a confined place?"]

[Irwin - "No, it was clearly open. What was it, probably about fifteen miles across from Hadley Delta up to Mt. Hadley, so it was a wide valley. I guess we had the impression it was a little valley, you know, as we were coming in for landing. But then, when you get down on the surface and consider the distances to the north, and even to the south and the east, it was a big valley."]

[Jones - "When you got back from the mission and were going through the debriefing - or even later on - if there was anything that you would have changed about the way things had gone - assuming there were going to be some glitches? Would there have been anything major that you would have suggested changing, or did it seem like a good way to approach the exploration of that particular chunk of the Moon?"]

[Irwin - "I think that the objectives that we outlined and understood were clear and proper. I think if we went back again, there would be very few changes that we would want to make, assuming that you just had three days to be on the surface. It would have been most helpful, as I mentioned earlier, to have cameras that had some automatic capability, 'cause that was always an exhaustive task to reset the cameras for every picture you took. I'm glad that the television worked as well as it did. It would be interesting to have television that would operate even during the driving situation, maybe an antenna that would be stabilized so that Earth could receive the picture even during the driving. It's too bad we didn't follow through and have a remote control capability added to our Rover so we could be continuing to drive it around the Moon to explore."]

[Jones - "Was there discussion of that?"]

[Irwin - "Yeah, initially there was a plan, I was told, to have a remote-controlled capability like the Soviet Lunokhod. And then you'd probably want to incorporate solar power so the car could continue to operate. I guess you'd power it down, somehow, at night and wait until it's daytime again to start it up. It's a shame we didn't incorporate that design, 'cause we'd sure know a tremendous amount about the Moon if we had that resource of information. The Moon is an outpost that beckons to us."]

[Jones - "Between the time that you were assigned to the flight and when you actually lifted off, did you have the feeling that you and Dave were major players in the design of the surface operation. I recognize that some of it was similar to what had been carried out on previous missions - but with the important difference that you were the first Rover crew."]

[Irwin - "And we were the first ones to spend three days there. Well, we were major players and we were hoping we'd have influence on the planning. And I think we were satisfied that we were. Our problem was that we had to train so much for the flight itself, you know, to get to the Moon and to come back, there wasn't that much time that we could spend on the lunar surface operation. I guess the best time was when we went off on geology field trips for a few days each month. It allowed us to separate the operational aspects - you know, flying to the Moon and coming back - from the lunar exploration effort. So it's good that we did have the chance to take that perspective. And, since we had a chance to handle, I think, everything that we were going to use on the Moon. We had a chance to look at the equipment and to use it, so there shouldn't have been too many surprises; although, even as we looked at it, we could see there were a few surprises."]

[Dave and Jim did fifteen geology field trips in the fourteen months from May 1970 to June 1971 and had been to Hawaii in August 1969 as the Apollo 12 backup LM crew.]

[Jones - "There's a statement in the Mission Report that you spent about 40 percent of your training time on the lunar surface activities. Is that a fair statement?"]

[Irwin - "I wouldn't have thought it was nearly that much."]

[Jones - "Changing subjects, when you joined the Corps, was there a particular part of the Apollo system that you dug into."]

[Irwin - "Well, I tried to specialize in the Lunar Module because I thought if I became an expert on the Lunar Module I'd have a better chance of going to the surface. I thought I wouldn't be very satisfied if I just had to serve as the Command Module Pilot and circle the Moon. So that was my choice and it's fortunate that I had the chance to be involved in the testing of the Lunar Module. I did work for Neil Armstrong, and Neil assigned me to follow the first testing of that lunar module in the thermal vacuum chamber. So I thought I probably had more experience in the Lunar Module - in that environment - than probably anyone else in the program. (Chuckling) So I was a little embarrassed when I had some difficulties getting out the doorway. And even knocking that water line. I don't know whether I broke the water line...I must have, because the water pooled, you know, at the back end of the Lunar Module."]

[Jones - "Is there anything else about the experience that you think ought to be in here? Was it worth it, to you personally, to have gone?."]

[Irwin - "You have a copy of my book. It gave me a lot of material for me to talk about and write about for the rest of my life. And, you know, just going to the Moon gave me a new appreciation for the Earth, an appreciation for life, and new purpose for my life, which I never dreamed would come about as a result of going to the Moon. So my life was greatly changed. Physically, because of all the heart problems that developed; and then psychologically because I realize that people put you in a little different category; and spiritually. So my life has changed greatly. And I don't regret that."]

["Even knowing the heart problems, I'd gladly do it again. In fact, I wish I had a chance to do it again, because I think I'm a little cooler than I was then and I think I'm really in better shape now than I was when I made the flight. (Chuckling) I was surprised that it looked my resting heart rate was up in the 60s and 70s and, now, my resting heart rate is down in the 40s. And I'm 30 pounds lighter than I was when I made the flight. And, back then, I thought I was in good shape. Hopefully, we learn more as we progress through life; but I realize that, man, I could have brought back 30 pound more of lunar material, if I'd only known that. I'd have been smaller, I would have had a little more room to move around, (chuckling) and I probably could have gotten out the hatch a little easier, too. I would like to go back again, to complete the exploration that we had planned, get up to the Northern Complex, to bring back some of the things that I forgot and left there and then to see if the experience has as much meaning today as it did 18 years ago."]

["So, I'm envious of those that will go to the Moon, someday. I thought I would have seen the return to the Moon in my lifetime; but, now, I'm beginning wonder whether I will. In fact, I was even hopeful I'd see Man travel out to Mars, but that's even more unlikely. So I just don't know what events will have to transpire before we get our vision clear again to explore, to return to the Moon. I'm glad our President made the statement that he did in July (1989). My only regret is that he didn't put a timetable on it, but I can understand why he didn't. So, we'll see."]

[Jones - "I'm hopeful. More hopeful than I've been in a decade. There's a sizable group of people out there who care about it. There's a focus, now. We understand enough about lunar materials to understand how we can put lunar resources to work. There's a fair amount of work that's been done to define the kind of science that can be usefully done at a base and the technology that we need - technology that we had in the 60s that von Braun defined in the 40s. All the pieces are in place and all it requires is the will and the bucks."]

[Irwin - "Looking back at von Braun, he was a visionary and a very capable spokesman for the space program. And I don't know if we have anyone, these days, that can speak out to the Man in the Street - as well as to the Man in the White House - and make a convincing argument. And that's what we desperately need. When we lost von Braun, we lost a brilliant spokesman for the space program. (Chuckling) And it helped that he had a little foreign accent that made him more acceptable than most of the Americans."]

[The accompanying photo shows von Braun following the countdown of Saturn I test flight SA-6 at one of the blockhouse periscopes in May 1964.]

[Jones - "I'm so glad that he lived long enough to see it."]

[Irwin - "Brilliant man. I was in Segovia, in Spain, many years ago, at little restaurant. And the owner of the restaurant had von Braun in there as one of his guests. And he wanted to show me what Wernher had written in the guest book; and Wernher just very simply, 'No Segovia, no Isabella. No Isabella, no Columbus. No Columbus, no America. And no America, no Moon.' So he tied the whole package together. Man. Brilliant."]

[Jones - "Do you get a sense of enthusiasm from the kids that you talk to these days?"]

[Irwin - "Oh, the enthusiasm is high! Particularly among the elementary-school (kids). (Chuckling) If we could just somehow have them be responsible for our future in space, there's no doubt."]

[Jones - "They all want to be astronauts..."]

[Irwin - "Yeah, they all want to go in space. When I speak to them, they usually all put up their hands, 'Yeah, we want to go. We want to go into space.' That's their desire. And they're so keen on it. That's why I wrote that book, you know - mainly for the young people, the young people of the world."]

[Jim's book, written with William A. Emerson, Jr., is "To Rule the Night: The Discovery Voyage of Astronaut Jim Irwin".]

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