Apollo-16 astronauts Young, Duke and mattingly brought their mission to the moon's surface to a triumphant conclusion on Sunday (April 23) with a third, record-breaking moonwalk, a dramatic blast-off from the lunar surface, in the moon-lander Orion, and a tense but smooth reunion with the mother spacecraft, Casper.
GV Astronauts examining rocks
SV Astronaut takes sample from big rock
SV Lunar module before combustion and lift-off
GV PAN Moon surface showing flag and debris from liftoff.
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This telerecording carries natural sound of the astronauts' conversation with Houston as they worked on the surface, during their third extra-vehicular activity, and aboard Orion, before and after blastoff
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Apollo-16 astronauts Young, Duke and mattingly brought their mission to the moon's surface to a triumphant conclusion on Sunday (April 23) with a third, record-breaking moonwalk, a dramatic blast-off from the lunar surface, in the moon-lander Orion, and a tense but smooth reunion with the mother spacecraft, Casper.
The mission--which began eight days before at Cape Kennedy--set new records for lunar exploration. Commander John Young and Charles Duke bagged more rock specimens then scientists had dared hope for, travelled further then any previous expedition--16.9 miles (27.1 kms)--and spent a total of 71 hours on the moon surface.
During the three days Command spacecraft pilot Ken Mattingly, orbiting the moon 70 miles up, took an unrivalled film record of the lunar surface and scientific measurements that will help future moon travellers locate good landing sites.
Millions of people on earth were able to watch the dramatic blast-off of the moon-lander Orion's upper stage, as it shot up into space for rendezvous with the command spaceship.
The docking of the two craft was achieved smoothly, but only after some tense minutes when it was found that the blast-off from the moon had apparently ripped off two wafer-thin aluminum panels from the back of Orion.
Finally Young and Duke crawled back into Casper, hauled in their precious rock and soil samples, battened down the hatches and slept.
The astronauts' achievement is seen be Houston scientists as proving that human beings are capable of long, back breaking periods of work in an alien environment, and can produce better results than any remotely-controlled robot.