National Geographic : 1965 Jan
the tropical rain forests of Panama. At the Air Force Southern Command Tropic Sur vival School at Albrook Air Force Base in the Canal Zone, the jungle training includes in struction on edible wild fruits and insects even how to skin and prepare snake meat (page 123). Despite initial grimaces, the astro nauts found most of the dishes fairly palatable. "It just depends on your appetite," said Capt. William A. Anders, as he turned down an iguana tidbit. "I've already eaten once this week" (pages 128-9). Survival exercises have shown the astro nauts to be competent outdoorsmen. Still, it's all pretty uncomfortable, as Alan Bean indi cated when I asked what the training had taught him: "I learned that the best thing to do is to try very hard to keep from com ing down in the jungle." We hope our trips to the moon will help determine the origin of the moon and the earth. Therefore our space science training stresses geology. We begin at the level of a college freshman course. But the dosage is highly concentrated. We soon move on to the most recent ideas about lunar geology. Spirit of the 20 Our geology classroom suited Astronau at Ellington looks like a typifies youthfu small museum of mineral barked on per' science. The displays corn- challenge of all bine large globes of the the vast wilder moon and models of lunar terrain. There are sample collections of rocks, meteorites, minerals, and crystals. Moon Vista May Look Familiar In addition, two acres of craters are being constructed in the Texas soil by trucking in volcanic rock and cinders-materials that ge ologists consider similar to what we will find on the moon. A full-size mock-up of the Lunar Excursion Module will squat in this moon field, so astronauts can test methods for get ting in and out. Here, too, they will try out their moonboots, gloves, and scientific gear. "We will keep improving this piece of the moon as new information comes in from our Ranger and Surveyor programs," said Dr. Ted H. Foss of NASA's special geology team.* Already, from Ranger VII's photographs *See "The Moon Close Up," by Eugene M. Shoemaker, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, November, 1964. 144 we have reason to believe that our moonfield does not have to be a deep dustbin. We hope to perfect our simulation to the point that the first astronaut on the moon will say, "Hey, this reminds me of Houston...." Lunar Hazard: Space Suit Blowout Field trips give the astronauts a firsthand acquaintance with land forms, rock strata, and the folding, bending forces recorded in layers of stone. "Grand Canyon makes a magnificent class room," says geology instructor Uel Clanton. "Several hundred million years of the earth's history sliced into a mile-deep cross section -l ike a laboratory model blown up to full th century, space it Frank Borman l1 Americans em haps the greatest time-conquest of less of space. might make it scale" (page 126). In addition to Grand Canyon, astronauts have traveled to the Big Bend country of the Rio Grande and to Arizona's Sunset Crater, where they scram bled over contorted black lava flows. "If the moon is really volcanic," instructor Al Chidester told them, "you may find yourself trying to walk across this kind of lava field in a pressure suit." Maj. Frank Borman eyed the glass-sharp edges of the rock heaps. "An em barrassing place to have a flat," he noted. "With a slow leak in your suit you back to the LEM-but with a blowout, you're dead!" At Kitt Peak National Observatory, Ari zona, the astronauts took a look at lunar craters through the world's largest solar tele scope (page 125). Geologist Dr. Harold Masursky pointed out that few major telescopes are used for moon observation. "The size of the instrument is not too important for moon viewing," he said. "Our atmosphere is the worst problem." "What would be the best optical system for studying the moon?" Bill Anders asked. Walter Cunningham offered an answer: "A hand-held magnifying glass-you just have to get close enough to use it." Getting close enough will take a few years. But, as our NASA team works and plans and trains, the moon becomes a bit nearer our grasp with each passing day.