Wednesday, 5 December 2012

The Science of the Apollo Missions

On the subject of research papers, I recently came across a paper by Ian Crawford on the science of the Apollo missions.  It's a review written at a non-technical level; it's from the journal Astronomy and Geophysics, but the only link I've found is at the arXiv.  I encourage anyone curious about the scientific merits of the whole affair to read it.  One interesting quote compares what Prof. Crawford achieved on a field trip on Earth to the moon missions, concluding
I do not think that we were inefficient, and we were in fact well-pleased with what we accomplished (which will result  in several peer-reviewed publications), but clearly what we achieved in 42 man-days at one site in Iceland pales into insignificance to what the Apollo astronauts achieved in 25 man-days at six sites on the Moon under far more difficult operating conditions. Based on my own experience I find the field efficiency of the Apollo astronauts to  be simply staggering.

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