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Monday, July 31, 2023


American astronaut Jim Irwin salutes the U.S. flag while on the Moon during NASA's Apollo 15 twelve day mission July 26-Aug. 6, 1971.  Moon lander "Falcon" in background next to NASA's first moon rover.  Photo: Astronaut David Scott.

Lunar Roving Vehicle first used on the Moon 

On this day in 1971, Apollo 15 astronauts James B. Irwin (riding shotgun) and driver David Scott first used the four-wheeled battery-powered Lunar Roving Vehicle to extensively explore the Moon's surface, in particular the Hadley-Apennine site. 

Decades later interviews with the crew's third member Al Worden reported the LRV often had two-wheel airborne during the drive, which maxed out at about 6 mph. Also, it was scary to learn today’s i-phone has way, way more computer power than the landing crew had on liftoff from the moon, said Worden.

Learn more about the lunar roving vehicle in Earl Swift’s new book Across the Airless Wilds: The Lunar Rover and the Triumph of the Final Moon Landings (Custom House, 2021). 

APOLLO 15 Flight Details CLICK HERE. 

FOUR WHEELS FOREVER. Apollo 15 astronaut Jim Irwin works at his lunar roving vehicle station during the first Apollo 15 moonwalk. It is remarkable to know those tire marks and foot prints still exist today on the moon. Also in view is 13,000 ft. Mt. Hadley 12 miles in the distance. Picture by David Scott, NASA. 

ONE OWNER. Built by General Motors and Boeing the LRV has very low mileage (17.5 miles) while traveling on the surface of the moon.  

SPEED RECORD. Astronaut David Scott seen here zipping by at the controls of the Apollo 15 LRV holds the four-wheel speed record on the moon, 6 mph. Because no photos were possible showing both astronauts riding NASA’s moon Jeep, shown below, is an image of David Scott (right) and Jim Irwin test driving the LRV along the Rio Grande River canyon area near Taos, New Mexico. 

TROUGHS. Hadley Rille is shown above Apollo 15’s LRV. The rille a deep lava channel created a very long time ago.  This Rille is viewed from Apollo 14 command module (photo below) and can be seen even with amateur telescopes from Earth.  

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