To infinity…

President Trump is struggling to find a place in history, other than being the worst president his country has ever had. On more than one occasion he has expressed views about returning to the Moon, sooner rather than later. My guess is that he sees an opportunity to make money from whatever resources people might find there.

It’s a bit Kennedy-esque, I suppose, certainly the commitment (if that’s not too strong a word).

We (mankind) landed on the Moon in 1969, and by late 1972 the whole programme was over. Nearly all the men who walked there are dead. The USA achieved something magnificent, but do not have the resources or technology to do it now. With the ending of the space shuttle, they do not have a proven method of getting humans into orbit even.

This is an interesting article: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/extra/nkzysaP3pB/to-the-moon-and-beyond

Leonov

The death was announced of Alexy Leonov. Or Alexei.

Any regular readers will know how much I enjoyed all the space stuff this summer, celebrating Apollo 11. We remember some of the old school astronauts and cosmonauts: John Glenn, Neil Armstrong, John Young, Yuri Gagarin, Valentina Tereshkova and Alexei Leonov. Few of the original heroes are still alive.

In 1965, Leonov was the first person ever to do a spacewalk. It nearly ended in tears when his suit expanded so much he could not get back into the capsule. The landing was also fraught with difficulties, and there is a great film about it: Spacewalk/Spacewalker.

Had it happened, Leonov would have been the first Russian on the Moon. As it was, he commanded the Soviet half of the joint Apollo-Soyuz mission.

In later life, he became the grand old man of Russian space.

Men on the Moon

Given that just 12 men have walked on the Moon, how many can you name. More than two is good. I can do most, but get the mission numbers a bit confused (mind, I don’t remember what I had for breakfast).

So here they are:

11 Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin

12 Pete Conrad, Alan Bean

14 Alan Shepherd, Edgar Mitchell

15 Dave Scott, Jim Irwin

16 John Young, Charlie Duke

17 Gene Cernan, Harrison Schmitt

As I write, four are still alive: Aldrin, Duke, Schmitt and Scott.

Apollo 13, of course, was due to land on the Moon but an explosion aborted the mission.