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You don't ask for much! Those requirements would be a challenge for Industrial Light & Magic to achieve...and at what cost?
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Page 3-34: After an initial acclimation period, the crew encountered no unexpected problems in moving
about on the surface. Traction appeared good, and no tendency for slipping or sliding was reported. Fine
surface material was kicked up readily and, together with the lunar dust that coated most contacting
objects, created difficult working conditions and housekeeping problems on board the spacecraft
Footprint depths were of the same order as in Apollo 11, that is, a centimeter or less in the immediate
vicinity of the lunar module and in the harder lunar surface material areas, and up to several centimeters
in the softer lunar surface material areas. The least penetration was observed on the sides of Surveyor
crater. Penetration of the lunar surface by various handtools and staffs was reported as relatively easy and
was apparently easier than reported for Apollo 11. The staff of the solar wind composition experiment
was readily pushed to a depth of approximately 11l centimeters and the flagpole approximately
17 centimeters. Trenches were dug to depths of 20 centimeters without difficulty, and the crew reported
that, except for limitations caused by the lengths of the tool handles (section 9), they could have
excavated to considerably greater depths without difficulty. Vertical sidewalls on these trenches would
cave in when disturbed at the top but would remain vertical if left untouched.
Dust on the lunar surface proved to be more problematic than anyone had anticipated. Gene Cernan in
the Apollo 17 Technical Debriefing remarked
“I think dust is probably one of our greatest inhibitors to a nominal operation on the Moon. I
think we can overcome other physiological or physical or mechanical problems except dust.”
All of the Apollo missions were adversely affected by the dust due to included visual obscuration,
false instrument readings, dust coating and contamination, loss of traction, clogging of mechanisms,
abrasion, thermal control problems, seal failures, and inhalation and irritation.
Simple dust mitigation measures were sufficient to mitigate some problems like loss of traction, but
for many such as thermal control problems, adhesion, and abrasion, it is clear that new technologies must
be developed. Some mitigation strategies, such as vibration have been tried and found lacking. Others,
such as brushing appeared to work much better in ground tests than they did in the lunar environment.
Clearly, an important area is the development of better simulation environments than were used in the
Apollo era. This may include the use of better simulants, higher vacuum, correlated simulations, and more
realistic thermal and illumination environments.
Finally, the pervasiveness of the dust and the problems it causes were summed up by Gene Cernan in
his Technical Debrief
“Dust - I think probably one of the most aggravating, restricting facets of lunar surface
exploration is the dust and its adherence to everything no matter what kind of material, whether it
be skin, suit material, metal, no matter what it be and it's restrictive friction-like action to
everything it gets on. For instance, the simple large tolerance mechanical devices on the Rover