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Home / Science / Lessons of Apollo Can Help NASA Ace Return to the Moon, Experts Say

Lessons of Apollo Can Help NASA Ace Return to the Moon, Experts Say



NASA prepares for the ambitious goal of landing on the moon within five years a conference from the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) The conference, "Exploring New Space Frontiers," will broadcast live from Washington, DC, Tuesday (April 23) to celebrate USRA's 50th anniversary. The Apollo era

One of the speakers worked behind the scenes for decades. Monroe, North Carolina (NASA's Langley Research Center for 1967, as Apollo was beginning. She started working at NASA as one of the youngest people in the world.

Related: Apollo 11's Vintage Tech: Amazing Moon Landing Innovations

Her career overlaps with the time period described in the 201

6 book "Hidden Figures" (William Morrow, 2016) and the movie based on it. Both followed which was later adapted as a movie. Both highlighted the black women at Langley who worked as computers in that era.

After five years' work, Darden asked her boss about a transfer to an engineering group and what refused. Darden thought about his answer carefully, then took a career risk: She asked her boss's boss, a director, why could not do that job and not women.

Darden was prepared to go back to her original job, teaching, if she NASA, but the response from the director was simple: No one had asked that before. She was promptly transferred. Darden worked on many supersonic projects with the engineering group, and in retirement, she now gives speeches to public school students about how to pursue their dreams.

She learned how to do it, and how to do it through the night.

"We do need our young people to prepare for work in space, and that's all of our students," she said.

Evolving science

Another speaker on Apollo's front lines science: Harrison (Jack) Schmitt, a geologist-astronaut who flew to the moon's Taurus-Littrow highlands with Eugene Cernan in 1972 as a part of the Apollo 17 mission. Schmitt is the only scientist to practice his craft directly on another world. NASA could use today.

Schmitt found orange soil on the moon that consisted of volcanic glass beads ; Decades Later, Were Waterborne, invisible to Instruments in the 1970s. Schmitt, 83, continues to work on the science. Recently added a new image for the future of orange and red color in NASA pictures before.

"I finally got the colors right," Schmitt said.

This newly enhanced 1972 picture of orange soil on the moon, made of volcanic glass beads, was shown at a Universities Space Research Association conference April 2019. Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison Schmitt, in collaboration with colleagues with familiarity in seeking information within picture files. Schmitt said this picture, for the first time, shows how to vivid the orange soil was.

[Image: © USRA]

In his talk, he sprinkled in tips for future moon explorers: Make sure you have a big rocket the old samples that the Apollo astronauts picked up between 1969 and 1972. "I do not recommend that as your only mission, "Schmitt added, explaining that he would like to receive new samples as well."

Scott Pace, the National Space Council's executive director, gave some recommendations for explorers to consider , But before he did that, he squashed the old argument that he had no need to return. "Maybe your grandfather did that, or your PhD dissertation advisor did that, but a new generation did not travel beyond low Earth orbit in a very, very long time," he said.

The key to a successful lunar return will be thinking smartly and building a sustainable architecture, he added. NASA's planned Gateway space station – for missions to the moon and Mars, he said. Pace said, referring obliquely to the decadal surveys and other methods that NASA and other agencies use to guide their program.

Pace acknowledged that a five-year deadline for a human landing : "You need focus and priority – you can not be snared in options." There's a clarifying nature to having a near-term stressing goal, "he said.

USRA was established in 1969 to help scientists and scholars study the lunar rocks and regolith (soil) that astronauts trucked back from the moon, between 1969 and 1972. The group's 50th anniversary this year coincides with the 50th anniversary 20. USRA's mandate today is expanded to include matters such as education programs, aerospace policies, and operating and arranging a number of facilities through partnerships. [19659002] Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace . Follow us on Twitter @ Spacedotcom and on Facebook .


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