Friday, July 17, 2009
Apollo in Slow Mo?
Now that we just had the 40th anniversary of the first time humans ever landed on another world, it made me think. Reading the stories of that era, one thing that struck me was how fast moving it was. Apollo 11 in 1969 to Apollo 17 in 1972.
Only the last mission, Apollo 17 carried a scientist. While amazing science was done on earth with the moon rocks returned by Apollo missions, there really wasn't a lot of time to maximize the scientific discoveries between missions. We are now fairly certain that the Moon was formed when a Mars sized planetoid smashed into the Earth 4.5 billion years ago. When we study the moon rocks, we also study the earth. Cool stuff.
My thought experiment. What if we had spaced out the missions, to study the science and technology between missions? Say every five years, back to the moon? And after the first mission, always bring a scientist?
I'm sure there were economies of scale pumping out a mission every few months, but that was also a problem. The mission was to get to the moon. NASA did that. But when you rush, you miss things.