National Geographic : 1971 Jul
" THE RIM ... we haven't found that yet," the astronauts lament at Station C (above). But the number of large boul ders increases. The men take more rock samples and measure the magnetic field with a portable magnetometer. They catch sight of Old Nameless at far left. Then, about 75 yards off, "almost white" rocks, on the ridge at center, draw the explorers on. "It's farther than it looks," says Mitch ell, and Shepard sardonically replies, "That's the order of the day." Soon they stand "right in the midst of a whole pile of very large boulders" (right), evidence that the edge is near. But where? With only eight hours until lift-off, the astronauts pick up loose fragments and chip off a piece of the white rock, and then turn back. Days later, after studying maps and photographs in Houston, they con clude that here at Station C1 (map, page 142) they came within 75 feet of their des tination, which lay just beyond the white rocks. Geologists, however, believe that samples taken here are most likely identi cal with those at the crater's edge. The downhill leg of the journey goes fast; the highly visible lunar module guides the astronauts home. They stop for more samples amid "country so rolling and undulating, with rises and dips everywhere, that you can be going by a fairly good-size crater and not even recognize it." The slope at home base (below) gives a jaunty appearance to Antares; one of its grasshopper legs came to rest only inches from a yard-wide crater. After working as pilot, geophysicist, and geologist, Shepard played tourist. Attaching the head of a six iron to a tool's 24-inch-long extension handle, he hit a golf ball-for "miles and miles and miles," he said in jest. Actually, his improvised club drove the ball less than a hundred yards. Leaving behind the umbrella antenna, its white cover, and other equipment not needed on the return to earth, Shepard and Mitchell crowd themselves and 94 pounds of lunar material into the ascent stage of Antares. Af ter 331/2 hours on the moon, they lift off to rejoin Roosa in Kitty Hawk for the three-day, 246,200-mile trip home.