Voices from the Moon: Apollo Astronauts Describe Their Lunar Experiences

Overview

The epic of the Apollo missions told in the astronauts' own words and gorgeously illustrated with their photographs

Andrew Chaikin's A Man on the Moon is considered the definitive history of the Apollo moon missions-arguably the pinnacle of human experience. Now, using never-before-published quotes taken from his in-depth interviews with twenty-three of the twenty-four Apollo lunar astronauts, Chaikin and his collaborator, Victoria Kohl, have created an extraordinary account of ...

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Overview

The epic of the Apollo missions told in the astronauts' own words and gorgeously illustrated with their photographs

Andrew Chaikin's A Man on the Moon is considered the definitive history of the Apollo moon missions-arguably the pinnacle of human experience. Now, using never-before-published quotes taken from his in-depth interviews with twenty-three of the twenty-four Apollo lunar astronauts, Chaikin and his collaborator, Victoria Kohl, have created an extraordinary account of the lunar missions. In Voices from the Moon the astronauts vividly recount their experiences in intimate detail; their distinct personalities and remarkably varied perspectives emerge from their candid and deeply personal reflections. Carefully assembled into a narrative that reflects the entire arc of the lunar journey, Voices from the Moon captures the magnificence of the Apollo program like no other book. Paired with their own words are 160 images taken from NASA's new high-resolution scans of the photos the astronauts took during the missions. Many of the photos, which are reproduced with stunning and unprecedented detail, have rarely-if ever-been seen by the general public. Voices from the Moon is an utterly unique chronicle of these defining moments in human history.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Twenty-four NASA Apollo astronauts left our planet's orbit and flew around the moon. To create this tableau of their lunar experiences, Andrew Chaikin interviewed 23 of them, including each of the 12 men who landed and walked on the lunar surface. (Jack Swigert, the one astronaut not interviewed, died in 1982.) The astronauts' detailed descriptions are engrossing, but they gain an even deeper ambience with the book's 160 photographs, visible now in stunning high-resolution scans. One keepsake that you will keep.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670020782
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/14/2009
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 966,976
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 10.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Read an Excerpt

3

OUTWARD BOUND

You say, Hey, I'm out here 150 or 200 thousand miles away from home, going in the other direction. It's not just home—it's not like you're on a trip from Houston to California. I mean, you have really left society.

—GENE CERNAN

The Saturn V was such an enormous machine. And the size of the engines. You still wonder, when you see it on its side down there in Houston. It was an enormous thing. And I think I felt that more going up the morning of the launch. Because it was so quiet, nobody around it… I don't want to say awe, a combination of admiration— yeah, maybe awe. Wonderment.

—FRANK BORMAN

It's a little different sitting in the rocket, rather than watching it … from the ground, and hearing the announcer, you know, dramatically talk about the countdown, and what's going on. Inside the rocket, sitting there, waiting for the countdown, is a lot different, because you don't get that momentous buildup, that anxiety buildup. You're sitting there, and you just do certain things. And the launch is a little bit different too, because on the ground you get that vibration in your stomach, whereas in the spacecraft itself, it's a big rumble. You can hear those valves open up and all that fuel drop down those manifold valves. You know, the pipes are big. You know, you're burning fifteen tons per second. And so you really go to town, and you can hear that. And it's a big rumbling noise, and off you go.

—JIM LOVELL

There's always the element of unreality in it because a launch is not real until you lift off. And until you lift off, something could always happen to call you back, to prevent the launch… So you don't commit yourself to the flight—totally—until you get ignition and you're off the pad. And then, it's all or nothing. That's the gamble— it's either heads or tails. At that point, you're committed to the flight. Whether you come back is not important at that point. Then, the flight is the important thing… I would say, at the instant of liftoff (snaps his fingers),—and you know they can't call you back, there's a momentary thing that says, This is for real. And then, training kind of takes over. And you go through things like you did in the simulator.

—AL WORDEN

Above: Apollo 8's liftoff, viewed by a camera on the launch pad. Opposite: A tracking camera view of Apollo 15.

There was a startling moment there, right at liftoff. Everybody got quite startled. Because we had simulated the hell out of everything— aborts and everything—but nobody had ever been on a Saturn V… As we lifted off, you can imagine this rocket—it's a giant thing, but it's not bulky like an obelisk or like the Washington Monument; it's not rigid. It's more flexible. Not quite a whip antenna on your automobile, but somewhat like this… So we were literally being thrown around. I mean, "thrown around" is the best way I can describe it. I felt like a rat in the jaws of a giant terrier. I mean, here we'd hardly started, and already we had something that we hadn't simulated.

—BILL ANDERS

I really wasn't sure the crazy thing was going to stay together. Even to read the gauges was almost a guess.

—RON EVANS

It was raining so goddamn hard—it was really a damn storm that morning. We wanted to launch, obviously. We delayed during the countdown, but we weren't about to crawl out of that goddamn thing and go back. We were ready to launch. And then we were running out of the [launch] window, and it looked like it was easing off some, and they fired our butts right through that stuff.

—DICK GORDON

Apollo 12 lifts off into a rainstorm. Half a minute later, the ascending spacecraft was struck by lightning, knocking out the command module's electrical system.

No matter what single, double, or triple failure those guys [the simulation instructors] put into the electrical system, they never came up with anything that turned on every electrical warning light in the caution and warning system. Man, they all lit. I think there were eleven of them. And they all came on. Everything that had anything to do with the electrical system lit up on the caution and warning panel. Every one of those hummers was on. Every one! I couldn't believe it.

—PETE CONRAD

Pete called it right; he told [the ground] he thought we got struck by lightning, but neither Al nor I had a window to look out of, and we didn't see anything… There was a boost protective cover over us; during launch, his is the only window … until the [launch escape] tower goes and pulls the boost protective cover off.

—DICK GORDON

I thought the service module had somehow separated from the command module. Because I didn't know any other way—I knew that no failure, or two failures, could do it. Because we'd had all the failures. So I knew them. You know, I'd look at six lights; that's AC [bus] 1. You soon learn the patterns and the numbers. And there were so many… I said, "They didn't bolt the command module right to the service module, and it slipped." Because, see, we lost three fuel cells. The only way you can do that is to kind of break it… So that's what went through my mind. I never thought of a lightning bolt…

—ALAN BEAN

I never thought about aborting—at that point. Obviously, I did not want to wind up with a dead spacecraft in orbit.

—PETE CONRAD

In retrospect, it could have been catastrophic. But it wasn't.

—DICK GORDON

Burning in the invisible flame of the Saturn V's second-stage engines, a connecting ring falls away following first-stage separation. An automatic camera aboard the unmanned Apollo 4 captured these views.

We had a lot of acceleration just prior to [first-stage] cutoff. We were really being squashed back… We were up to four and a half Gs or whatever it was. And, you know, your chest gets compressed down. You're panting. Your arms feel real heavy, so you're not moving around flipping any switches. And of course the fluid is all back here in your ears. But you get used to it. So you're kind of semiacclimated. And suddenly, you go from that, not only to zero G as the engine cuts off, but there's little retrorockets that fire on that engine to pull it back off, just before the second stage cuts in… . You know, you've seen those old movies like Captain from Castile, where they have a catapult that heaves the rock over the wall? I mean, I suddenly felt like I'd been sitting on a catapult and somebody cut the rope. Because I felt like I was going to go right through the instrument panel. Literally… And so I threw my arms up. And just as I got my hand up like that, the second stage cut in, and, clunk, the wrist ring hit my helmet. So I was a little embarrassed. Of course there was this big cloud of fire around us, you know (laughs), it was a very spectacular part of the flight. And of course, I'd just gone through my first launch; then two minutes and forty seconds later, we're in the middle of this, and I thought, Boy, this is going to be something. [It was] dull after that.

—BILL ANDERS

Having that whole mission in my hands when we lifted off—I had that T-handle, which could've shut that Saturn V down, aborted the mission if I wanted to. I mean, I had that decision to make— anytime, I could've made it, good or bad. You almost wish you had a guidance failure at liftoff. Because I knew I could've flown that big Saturn V into orbit goddamn near as good as the computer.

—GENE CERNAN

You know, in Earth orbit the horizon is barely curved. All of a sudden you move out at 25,000 miles per hour, and the first few hours, things really happen… I mean, you can see yourself leave the Earth at a tremendous rate of speed. You can see the horizon begin to close in upon itself. You can begin to see the continents. You begin to see things from the top down. You begin to see and realize after a period of time that the Earth's rotating, because the continents are beginning to change places. And the second day, now you've been looking at the Earth, it's become quite small and continues to get smaller, but very slowly does it continue to get smaller. So it's pretty dynamic in those first twelve hours—that's when things really happen.

—GENE CERNAN

In spaceflight, when we orbited the Earth, we thought in terms of continents. We were over the U.S.; now we're over a body of water. We're over Africa now; we're over Australia now. In the lunar flight, we thought in terms of bodies. The moon's here, the sun's there, the Earth is there.

—JIM LOVELL

I fancied myself as a guy who understood geography. And I looked out there, I could not figure out what was up… I mean, everybody knows that north is up, right? You sit in the classroom in fourth grade, and you look up there, and the teacher has a globe. There were several things that came across later, and I thought, Jeez, I should have known that. One, the Earth is not divided up neatly into little colored countries. Okay? So you don't see a red America, and a green Chile, and a purple China (laughs)… I expected more visual clues as to what I was looking at. Secondly, it's covered with clouds, so that obscures things. And God does not necessarily say that when you look at it the first time that north is going to be up. And it took me like several minutes to finally realize that what was up, was really Antarctica.

And I thought to myself, Now wait a minute. Let's go back. What do you see? Well, you see a big white patch. Is that clouds? No, it looks like ice. A big ice patch in the wintertime that you can see, it's got to be Antarctica. Antarctica up? Oh yeah, that could be, cause we're down. Well, then, we must be looking at it like this. So I actually went and looked at it like that [upside down]–Yeah, that's right! That's Antarctica! And then I said, Well, if that's Antarctica, let's start working from there. That thing here… , What could that be? My first thought was, That must be the horn of Africa. See, here's the horn, here's Cape Town. Well, if that's Cape Town, where's South America? And what is this thing?" Then I got to realizing, That ain't the horn of Africa; that's the coast of Chile! Isthmus of Panama, here's Florida. And here's Africa. Then it jelled.

—BILL ANDERS

An Apollo 12 view of Earth includes the Bahamas (turquoise spot at right of center).

The Earth is [fifty] times brighter than the moon, because of the reflection of the sun's rays on the clouds. But you don't get that on photographs.

—JIM LOVELL

The other thing … was that this little spot, the Bahamas lowland, was a turquoise jewel that you could see all the way to the moon. … It was like it was illuminated, like a piece of opal. And you could see that all the way. And I kept being amazed about that.

—BILL ANDERS

To me, it's crystalline. Crystalline being it has depth. I like to draw the analogy with someone who has deep blue eyes… The Earth is deep blue. And especially when you get out a little ways, not too far away, and you can look back at it, it's deep blue. It's got a three dimensional feel to it. A depth. And it's really beautiful… .

—DAVE SCOTT

I was just wishing I could spin it around and look at the rest of it.

—BILL ANDERS

You can see the whole Earth at about ten thousand miles. And you start taking pictures. You take one at ten, and one at fifteen, and one at twenty, et cetera, et cetera. And of course, they're all the same; it's just that the Earth takes less of the field of view of the camera as you get further away. But you don't think that. You think, Oh, I wanna take another picture now. I wanna take another picture now. It's spectacular. Oh, it's spectacular.

—DAVE SCOTT

It was kind of like, Yeah. The Earth's getting smaller. In fact, this was something that really surprised me. Here you are, watching the Earth shrink. And you know when it really dawned on me that we're a long way from home is when you start picking up the delay in the communications. Now, why looking out of the window seeing the Earth shrink doesn't do it, but why the audio of the delay in the communications does, [I don't know], but it did… When you would call, "Hello, Houston," and then there would be, Mmmmmmmm "Go ahead, 14." And that was the first big realization that, hey, we're starting to get out here. More so than seeing the Earth shrink. And I don't know why. I just remember that.

—STU ROOSA

Aboard Apollo 8, Bill Anders does a weightless somersault.

I got out of my suit first, and I was flipping around, thinking, Isn't this fun! And then suddenly I thought, My God, if I do this about three more times, I'm going to embarrass myself. So I'm going to quit doing it… I didn't throw up, but I thought, I'd better be careful or I'm going to throw up… After about eight hours, I'd adapted. Reasonably.

—BILL ANDERS

I was really, really worried about [whether I'd get sick in zero G]. And I remember the exhilaration the first time I released the lap belt, got out of the couch, and I thought, Oh God, now we'll find out. And it took about ten nanoseconds to recognize, I've been here all my life. This is absolutely natural. And I never gave another thought to it… I must have beamed from ear to ear when I realized, Got it made. This is perfect. I know exactly where everything is. Upside down, right side up, it looks perfect to me. It's beautiful. I can move anywhere I want, I can do anything I want, and there aren't any problems associated with this business. And I remember what a euphoric feeling that was.

—KEN MATTINGLY

We lit the [Service Propulsion System] engine to take us off the free-return trajectory. So that's the first time that you light the SPS engine. And item number one on the SPS burn checklist is "Secure all lose items." Okay, so now, you've just spent a thousand hours in the simulator, and you've gone through this how many hundreds of times? … Okay, items secure. And then you go on down. And then you're into the nitty-gritty, you know, you get your fuel cells up, and your gimbal motors on, and this check and that check, and you're ready to burn… It was a short burn, I think two or three seconds, or whatever… And so as soon as the engine lit, I was really surprised. Because it—Pow! And man, you went back [in your seat], and a checklist goes flying over your head here, and something else goes flying over there. After that, you paid more attention to item one, "Secure all loose items."

—STU ROOSA

Zero G is a blessing and a curse. I mean, for keeping track of your film, it's a curse, because the goddamn stuff, you put it down, which is stupid to do. I always used to put it on the edge of the simulator, and it just stayed there, you know? (laughs) And without thinking, I didn't stick it on the Velcro. Put it down here—where is it? I'd have to go hunting for it, and that always puts you a few minutes behind. It's also a curse from the bodily functions. I mean, next time you go to the latrine, imagine if you were in zero G. What does that stuff do? It just—ugggh. It's hard, even with KC-135 [zero-G aircraft] flights, you just are not able to totally train yourself for zero G until you get there.

The plus side is, it's a very comfortable place. I mean, I can't sit still; my back starts hurting. And yet, I never got uncomfortable on the flight… It's very relaxing. It's easy. You don't have to be strong… Mainly you're just like a big fish, like a jellyfish, lying there. And your arms are like this, in their natural position; your legs are like that… Pretty soon, after three days, you're adapted to it. … I enjoyed zero G.

The thing that was the most difficult for me to sleep was that the damn sleeping bag was sized for somebody like C. C. Williams, the biggest guy around. I was like one pea in this pod. I didn't realize it, but I kind of like to feel the security of the bed up against me. And I can't sleep on my back; I've got to sleep on my stomach, and feel pressure. And there was no pressure. And I'm sure you've had this feeling, where you're lying in bed, and just before you drop off to sleep, you suddenly feel like you're falling… .

—BILL ANDERS

No matter what I say, anybody says, about weightlessness, you cannot relay that to somebody who hasn't had the experience. You just cannot relate to it until you've had the experience of being in zero G. It's absolutely delightful. But how are you gonna explain it? You can't explain it!

—RON EVANS

When we were about to leave on Apollo 11, [NASA administrator] Tom Paine flew down to the Cape, had dinner with us, and said, "Look, if you guys screw it up, don't worry about it, come on back, we'll give the three of you the next shot at another try at the landing." Which I thought was kind of unusual for him to say, but it was very nice, and it took a lot of the pressure off us, especially Neil.

—MIKE COLLINS

Inside Apollo 11 on the way to the moon, clockwise from above: Mike Collins in the command module's lower equipment bay; Neil Armstrong studies a photomap of the landing site; Aldrin inspects the lunar module.

5

LANDING

I've often said that my instinct—not a carefully reasoned statistical study, but my instincts—told me that we had a 90 percent chance of a safe return and a 50 percent chance of a safe landing.

—NEIL ARMSTRONG

Inside the Apollo 16 lunar module Orion, John Young helps Charlie Duke suit up before undocking. Opposite: Orion flies free, seen from the command module Casper.

Landing the lunar module was … the kind of thing where you know that you only have one chance—no two chances, one chance. Everything has to go right. So that puts you right up on the edge of performance… There's an old saying in the program, I don't know whether any of the other guys have mentioned it: "Get ahead and stay ahead." … Always stay ahead… So in a lunar landing, it's really thinking ahead. It's planning ahead… Because if you get surprised, it's going to take away from your time and your mental process. And if you're ahead, you can absorb that… . So you're thinking all the things that you should do, and all the responses to emergencies—you don't get into specific emergencies, but you're just running your [mental] computer as fast as you can run it… And if you get into an emergency situation, things happen so fast, you have such a short period of time, there's no margin. You know—thirty seconds, or whatever it is… You cannot afford to make a mistake… Not so much consciously, but subconsciously, you have all your memory banks running. You're focused entirely on the job, but you're also paying attention.

As an example: I'm holding onto two [control] handles, and there are a number of buttons in front of me. Now there's a blue button to turn the engine off, and there's a red button to abort. I don't want to push the red button… So when you go into the landing, part of your computer in your mind is concentrating on those three buttons so you don't screw up. In addition to that, you're concentrating on the flying, and you're concentrating on listening to Jim and looking out the window, and the [trajectory]… What if all of a sudden we lose [communications]? What if I can't hear Jim? Then I gotta know what he's doing. So I have to make sure that without him, I can still do the job.

So you play all that [in your mind]. ‘Cause in the simulations, they've done that to you. They've done all these things to you… . That's the beauty of the simulations… In the simulator, you can say, I'm not going to listen to Jim this time. I'm just going to go do it. But in the real world, you have to put everything in the [mental] computer and run it at the same time. So the mental challenge is enormous! I mean, you don't have to focus on all that, but you better. Because if you don't, number one, you could screw up anyway, and number two, if you have a problem, it diverts your attention, and if you're not in parallel processing—and that's what it is, parallel processing all that stuff—if you're not processing everything in parallel at full speed, you're liable to miss something. And if you miss it, either you're dead real quick or you blew the mission. There's no recovery. And you know that, going in. There's one chance, and you've got two or three minutes. One chance and that's all. So, boy, you really tune up for that.

For that reason, flying the lunar module is a very demanding task. It's the toughest flying job—and I've flown a lot of stuff—the toughest flying job I've ever had.

—DAVE SCOTT

It was a beautiful airplane. I think in some of the failure modes … that it was very difficult to fly. If you had total three-axis failure of the autopilot, the only way that we could ever get the simulator down was for Ed to do the yaw and the roll, and I would handle the pitch and the throttle. And, you know, we made some hairy-looking approaches [in the simulator]… Because, you see (gesturing with his hands), here the thing's sitting like that [on its engine exhaust]; it's literally balanced. You just move it one way and it's just going to keep going on over, unless you stop it. And so you've done that maneuver, and it starts picking up speed, and then you've got to do the exact opposite. So it was a real spastic thing. And we hoped, obviously, that we'd never have a failure in three axes at once, because one man couldn't do it without losing it.

—ALAN SHEPARD

You had to get it down or you didn't get another chance… . I mean, at the [aircraft] carrier, you could always go around.

—PETE CONRAD

We all adapt our relationship to the passing of time, depending on the circumstances. A batter looking at a ball, you know, reads the spin, tries to figure out where the ball's going to go, and takes a swing, all in a matter of less than a second. On the other hand, a lot of things, you take very long deliberations, take a hundred or a thousand times as long to make a decision of similar import. And I think it's just human nature that you adapt your appreciation of the timescale to meet the circumstances. In the lunar landing, when you have not too much fuel and not too much time, you adapt your sense of time to that which is available. And if you're properly trained, and you have enough practice, you can get a confidence that you can do what's required in the time available, and you really don't worry about the pressure of time.

—NEIL ARMSTRONG

Pete and I get into the lunar module, getting ready to go down to the moon. And Dick's job was to put in the probe and drogue and stuff. It took quite a while for him to do that, and we were getting stuff ready, and trying to close out the lunar module … and all of a sudden Dick said, "Well, I'm getting ready to close the hatch now." So we looked up at him, and—I can still see him up there getting ready to close the hatch—and we didn't really say anything; I can't remember if we said, "See you in a couple of days," or didn't say anything, you know. I personally was wondering, "Will I ever see this guy again? Wonder what's going to happen to us? I hope I see him in a few days." But we never said anything, we kind of looked at each other, you know, and had, really, I felt, really loving feelings between us, yet I don't remember saying anything, except something light, like, "Well, see you in a few days." … It seemed that we had a lot of unspoken thoughts there, at least I did. You know, when you don't speak things, then you don't know what the other people are thinking.

—ALAN BEAN

I tell you what, I envied them. I wish to hell I could have gone with them, but there was no way for that to happen. I think Pete and Al kind of felt the same way.

—DICK GORDON

Inside the Apollo 12 command module Yankee Clipper, Dick Gordon photographs the departing lunar module Intrepid, carrying Pete Conrad and Alan Bean.

NEIL ARMSTRONG ON THE FIRST LUNAR LANDING

I thought in a gross sense that the lunar module was a much better flying machine than I expected, and it was really easier to fly than any of our simulations… Talking about a fairly few seconds of control here, and it's difficult to draw fine judgments on that limited experience. But I felt good about the flying qualities of the machine… .

There was a substantial distraction [from the computer alarms]— because one wonders, Is this something serious that I have to worry about? … It surely diverted my attention. And normally in that particular phase, I would have been selecting landmarks and trying to identify precisely where I was going to go and where that related to our intended landing spot. And that's the part that I missed, that I didn't get to do… All our landmarks that we used for identifying our target were upstream. They were east of the landing area. We'd passed those… .

That [football-field sized, boulder-strewn crater] was clearly a very desirable location [for the geologists], because there was a lot of action there, there were a lot of things that people would be interested in, and that looked like really an ideal place (laughs) to go if you could do it safely. But I didn't have that much courage (laughs)… .

Could be a lot of things [that would make it risky to abort the landing]. Could be that you don't get an engine fire with your ascent engine. You don't get clean separation. After all, that's a whole ‘nother test program, doing an abort sequence at low altitude for the first time, so in that sense, with a landing, at least, you're not tearing the vehicle apart, not changing engines in midstream. The landing gear's already down and locked. You have a lot of things going for you, and I would agree with [flight director] Gene Kranz that, other things being equal, you might tend to push in the land direction rather than the abort direction as a relative risk judgment… .

It [blowing dust] wasn't a surprise. We expected that there would be some kind of effect from the rocket exhaust on the surface. But not knowing precisely what the surface was, and not knowing what the deflected exhaust characteristics [would be], we didn't know what to simulate and how to simulate it… .

We were pretty close, pretty low, and I was close enough that, I thought if the engine quit [because of running out of fuel], we're alright—you just fall into the moon. So, when you get down to a certain level, you don't care if the engine quits. Just like an airplane (laughs). I don't think I was thinking about that, except subconsciously. But there's a point at which you are worried, and that's when it's very difficult, or maybe impossible, to abort. And once you get below that altitude, and with the velocity low enough that you aren't going to tip over when you come down, then you're the same as free—home free.

—NEIL ARMSTRONG

There was that moment, right after we touched down, when . . . we just kind of looked at each other and—I'm not sure how it happened, a slap on the back, or whatever—but there was that, just, little moment of, Hey—we made it.

—BUZZ ALDRIN

The view from the descending Apollo 11 lunar module Eagle at an altitude of (top left) 7,000 feet, (top right) 200 feet, (bottom left) 75 feet, and (bottom right) 7 feet. These frames were recorded by the onboard 16mm movie camera.

To a certain extent, you console yourself—It's just another simulation, and you've been through all sorts of these simulated problems. … Well, you know better, but it's a good trick to calm yourself down, to say, It's just like a simulation.

—ED MITCHELL

I think I mentioned … the surprise we had when we looked up at six thousand feet above the surface to find this mountain on our left went another seven thousand feet above us. We'd never had that view out of the simulator window… Fortunately, Hadley Rille was very obvious out in front of us, and that reassured us that we'd probably come to the right place.

—JIM IRWIN

I found it very convenient not to look out too much. Because it was very distracting to see all the craters, and see the moon, and see you were coming down. You know, you're really doing this. If I'd look inside, it seemed a lot like the simulator. So, what I would do was look out, and then when I would get excited, or (laughs) full up with information, you know, I'd say, Quit doing that and concentrate on what you're doing. Then I do it, but then I'd say, Well, I don't want to just miss the whole thing, either. I want to do the job, but I want to not miss the show. So it was a constant look in and do the job, and then look out and try not to look out too long.

—ALAN BEAN

[The dust] was very confusing… It's very confusing, looking at that stuff going out laterally, and you're not really sure what you're doing. So you had to check the gauges, or look for rocks sticking up through it, or whatever. And the window's not very big. And the closer we got, the worse it got, obviously… And it got heavier and heavier to the point where, if you look at our movies, just before touchdown there, no way you can see through it to the ground.

—PETE CONRAD

Damn right I was watching where we were going. If anything went wrong, I wanted to be oriented. Fast scan pattern—I was watching inside, but I was keeping things posted as to where we were. I wanted to be in a position so that if anything happened—Al's controls went out, or anything—I knew how to handle it from that point. I was ready to go ahead and land if necessary, or whatever… . The both of us knew we were going to land. Even when the landing radar didn't come in, it was pretty certain to pitch over, and if we were in any sort of position, we'd've landed anyhow. We're not going to get down to eighteen thousand feet and not take a look. Regardless of what Houston says.

—ED MITCHELL

Ed said [later], "What were you going to do?" I said, "You'll never know" (laughs)… We had an altitude limit, which we couldn't go below unless we had landing radar locked in and feeding into the computer. And we were getting awfully close to that… Oh, I'm sure if we had not had it in, and I'd pitched over and gone down and landed, you know, he wouldn't have said, "Don't, don't!" (laughs)

—ALAN SHEPARD

To shut down and drop to the surface was a real relief.

—ED MITCHELL

The view from the descending Apollo 12 lunar module Intrepid 650 feet above the Ocean of Storms.

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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Breathtaking

    This book presents a much different side of the lunar landings, its the astronaut's stories told by them without pulling any punches.

    These astronauts aren't touchy-feely types, so this book isn't a poetic look at mankind's great adventure as much as it is a "man-on-the-ground" report. The pictures in the book are absolutely beautiful, they give a new meaning to the phrase "Magnificent Desolation".

    While an experience like walking on the moon is impossible to put into words, this book does a great job of bringing the rest of us one step closer to the stars through its wonderful layout and awe-inspiring pictures.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A mesmerizing look at Apollo

    It is hard to believe that forty years have passed since Neil Armstrong uttered one of history's most famous lines. But largely unread are the words of a few others that walked on or orbited our closest celestial neighbor, the Moon.

    The starkness of the lunar landscape with a black sky and briliiant sun rays inspired these men to say words that are enshrined in Andrew Chaikin's latest masterpiece. He is the definitive journalist who has spent hundreds of hours interviewing and compiling the peotic and inspiring words of the first lunar voyagers.

    The stunning, breathtaking pictures using the latest printing technology are a magnificent visual experience compared to the grainy, soft color photos from Life magazines of the sixties and seventies. Many images are published here for the first time. The American flags and the marble blue Earth are printed in mesmerizing bold colors. A five star presentation indeed. Priced at a great point for the quality it delivers.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2009

    Excellent book!

    Would definitely recommend!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 7, 2009

    Space - Real Exploration "Voices from the Moon"

    While looking at each of the great photographs of the moons surface and the missions they represented, I found myself engrossed in an adventure all over again; just like I was back in 1969, watching the television. This is real! This is exploration at its best! If we the people, just had all of the answers that science does.

    It's sad. I feel the government still hasn't told the public the whole story of the Apollo program; although we, as a public, know a lot. Still, I found this book both intriging and stimulating.

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  • Posted August 3, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    I grew up during the space race and these guy's were my heroes.

    The photography is fantastic, it's a fast read but it gives you an insight to what was going through the heads of these guy's as they did things no one else had ever done. I am still in awe that they pulled these flights off. It will be hard getting back to the moon, but these guys did it with out the benefit of our current computer crunching power. If you love history and want to get inside the heads of these guy's it's a fun read. A lot of quick thoughts and memories, not long detailed explanations, there are plenty of good books with those. I really liked it and love the photo's

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  • Posted August 1, 2009

    Excellent addition for all space enthusiast's collections.

    The book is well organized into specific topics with the accompanying thoughts of each astronaut. Excellent use of photographs to supplement the individual topics.

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    Posted June 30, 2009

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    Posted August 2, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2009

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